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Breeders Cup 2015

Workin For Hops Returning to Polytrack

Arlington Park.

Estrorace’s Workin for Hops, hero of the Grade III Hanshin Cup over Arlington’s Polytrack three months ago, is scheduled for a return outing over that local surface Sept. 3 for the Grade III Washington Park Handicap and will get a five-eighths tune-up Saturday morning in advance of that engagement.


However, fans of Arlington racing will remember that last season Workin for Hops won the first two legs of Chicago’s Mid-America Triple over Arlington’s world famous turf course, so the homebred gelding now boasts not only the Grade III win on Polytrack but a Grade II win in the American Derby on grass and an additional turf tally in the 75th renewal of the prestigious Arlington Classic on his resume.


So which surface does Workin for Hops like better, trainer Mike Stidham was asked Friday afternoon?


“Numbers-wise, he’s always been pretty much equal on both,” said Stidham.  “Personally, I don’t really think he has a preference, but I will say on the grass I think he likes it more firm than soft and on the Poly I think he likes it when it’s playing a little faster.  When he won the Hanshin this summer, the Poly seemed to be pretty tight that day.


“James Graham will ride him in the Washington Park,” said Stidham, “but James has to go up to Canada tomorrow to ride a horse for us up there, so he may not be available for the work tomorrow.  Hilary (Pridham, Stidham’s long time assistant and exercise rider) will probably end up on the horse tomorrow morning.”


After winning the first two legs of the Mid-America Triple last summer, Workin for Hops ran third, beaten two lengths for all the money, in the Grade I Secretariat Stakes behind Donegal Racing’s Paddy O’Prado and Mark Hawtin’s Wigmore Hall.  That Irish-bred invader returned to Chicago earlier this month to run fourth in the 2011 Grade I Arlington Million.





Chicago-based jockey Tim Thornton was the riding star of the day on Thursday at Arlington, posing in the winner’s circle three times during the course of the afternoon.


Thornton’s first win came in Thursday’s third race aboard William Stiritz’ Greta’s Rap for trainer Scott Becker.  The 24-year-old jockey then came back to the winner’s circle after the seventh astride Carolyn Friedberg and Jeff Larson’s Tripping for conditioner Richie Scherer and concluded his hat trick in the ninth with a score on Bradley Bedell’s Nic the Quick for trainer Steve Fridley.


The three-win afternoon moved Thornton, born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, into a tie for seventh in the local standings with Seth Martinez entering Friday’s race day.


Irish-born jockey James Graham, currently runner-up in the standings, had a riding double Thursday, winning the second half of the Daily Double on Wyn Racing’s Spanish Baron for Irish-born trainer Andrew McKeever, and then scoring in the day’s finale on Edmund and Sharon Hudson and Doug Arnold’s Dance on the Moon for conditioner Eddie Kenneally.






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