Workin for Hops, winner of the Hanshin Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Arlington Park this spring, returns to his favorite track for the $100,000 Washington Park Handicap (gr. III) on Polytrack Sept. 3.
The 4-year-old City Zip gelding faces accomplished stakes winner General Quarters and six others in the 1 1/8-mile event. The Washington Park goes as the eighth race on the Arlington program at 4:37 p.m. CDT.
Since his three-length win in the one-mile Hanshin Cup May 21, Estrorace’s Workin for Hops has failed to finish in the money in two starts on grass -- a 10th in the King Edward Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine and, most recently, a fourth in the Oceanport Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park July 31.
Last year Workin for Hops captured the first two legs of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple on turf -- the Arlington Classic and the American Derby (gr. IIT) -- before finishing third to Paddy O'Prado in the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT). James Graham, who was aboard the chestnut in the Hanshin Cup, is back for trainer Mike Stidham.
General Quarters, owned and trained by Thomas McCarthy, has grade I victories on both Polytrack and turf with scores in the 2009 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and the 2010 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old son of Sky Mesa is winless in two starts this year, most recently finishing seventh in the Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Churchill Downs turf July 4. Jamie Theriot has the mount.
Lothenbach Stables’ Mister Marti Gras returns to a synthetic surface after finishing second in the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) on turf July 9. The Chris Block-trained son of Belong to Me ran third in the Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) over Keeneland’s Polytrack in April. Between those two starts, the 4-year-old gelding won a turf allowance race at Churchill Downs in June. Eduardo Perez, who was aboard Mister Marti Gras when he won the $200,000 Oliver Stakes at Indiana Downs last year, has been named to ride.
Looking for his first stakes win, Dark Cove arrives from Saratoga for trainer Ken McPeek and owners Joseph Engelhart and Magdelena Racing. The 4-year-old Medaglia d'Oro colt’s lone victory this year came over Polytrack at Keeneland in April when he beat a tough allowance field going 1 1/16 miles. Junior Alvarado picks up the mount.
The field also includes Color Me Blue, coming off an optional claiming allowance win over the Arlington main track Aug. 11, and Maristar, who is two-for-two on Arlington's Polytrack.
Burj Alzain, making his third start in the United States, and Hoosier Kingdom, winner of the restricted A. J. Foyt Stakes on turf at Indiana Downs, complete the lineup.
$100,000 Washington Park Handicap (gr. III, Race 8, 4:37 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Maristar (KY), E T Baird, 113, G A Butler
2. Burj Alzain (IRE), F Geroux, 114, G A Butler
3. Color Me Blue (IL), T Thornton, 114, B Williamson
4. Dark Cove (KY), J Alvarado, 117, K G McPeek
5. Workin for Hops (KY), J Graham, 119, M Stidham
6. Hoosier Kingdom (IN), J Z Santana, 113, R D Herrell
7. General Quarters (KY), J Theriot, 119, T R McCarthy
8. Mister Marti Gras (KY), E E Perez, 119, C M Block