Workin for Hops faces 9 in the Hanshin Cup.

Workin for Hops faces 9 in the Hanshin Cup.

Lou Hodges, Jr.

'Hops' Favored For Hanshin Cup

Workin for Hops was installed at the 3-1 favorite for Arlington Park's Hanshin Cup

Nine older runners are slated to contest the $100,000 Hanshin Cup Handicap (gr. III) at a mile over the Polytrack at Arlington Park May 21.

Workin for Hops is the most accomplished runner in the field, having banked more than $527,000 in his 13 starts, and was installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite. Most recently, the City Zip gelding ran second behind Get Stormy in the Maker’s Mark Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland. He has yet to win in three tries this season.

In 2010, however, Workin for Hops scored in a pair of added-money events at Arlington, taking the American Derby (gr. IIT) and the Arlington Classic Stakes. He also scored in the Grindstone Stakes at Fair Grounds and ran well twice against Paddy O’Prado, finishing second to him in the Colonial Turf Cup (gr. IIT) and third behind that one in the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington.

Last year’s Hanshin Cup winner, Country Flavor, is back to defend his crown. The 5-year-old Empire Maker  gelding was third in his 2011 debut behind Recapturetheglory and Apart in the Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds, then ran a disappointing eighth in the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) there. In addition to the Hanshin, Country Flavor won the Tenacious Handicap at Fair Grounds a year ago.

Cool Bullet has rolled a pair of seconds in his two starts this year, finishing second to Aikenite in the Commonwealth Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland last out. He also checked in second in the Forego Stakes at Turfway Park. The 4-year-old Red Bullet gelding is seeking a stakes victory for the third consecutive season, having triumphed in the Rumsen Stakes at Monmouth Park and the Hansel Stakes at Turfway in 2010, and the Sugar Bowl Stakes at Fair Grounds in 2009.

The lightly raced but impressive Pacific Ocean, undefeated in three career starts, will look to keep his record perfect. The 4-year-old Ghostzapper  gelding scored in an allowance at Keeneland going seven furlongs in his only outing this year. In 2010 he won an allowance at the same track and distance after having broken his maiden at Arlington.

The Hanshin will go as Race 8 on the Arlington card with a postime of 4:40 p.m. CT. Here is the lineup in post position order with jockeys, weights, and trainers:

1) Cool Bullet (E.T. Baird, 116) (Steve Margolis)
2) Workin for Hops (J. Graham, 116) (Mike Stidham)
3) Pointing North (E Razo Jr., 116) (J E Baker)
4) Havelock (J V Bridgmohan, 116) (Darren Miller)
5) Akhmatova (E E Perez, 111) (G A Butler)
6) Quite a Handful (T Riggs, 116) (A M Hansen)
7) Pacific Ocean (J Alvarado, 116) (Wayne Catalano)
8) Pulsion (F Geroux, 120) (Patrick Biancone)
9) Country Flavor (J Z Santana, 116) (Greg Geier)