With the largest crowd on hand EVER in the history of our Red Rabbit Racing stable, our Workin For Hops posted his
June 30th, Arlington Park, we were entered in an Allowance Optional Claiming at 80k, though we were not for sale. A 7 horse field had entered, though by post time 2 had scratched. We drew the 2 hole, but inherited the rail when one of the scratches proved to be the 1 horse.
Jockey Eddie Perez was up and we were running a mile and 1/16th over the Polytrack. Trainer Block was not on hand as he was down in his home town celebrating his parents, Patricia & David Block's 50th Wedding Anniversary. Saddling fell to Assistant Trainer Drew 'Big Country' Coontz and he ably readied our warrior for battle.
We broke sharply but the Hopster lunged to his right coming out of the gate, bumping the next horse more than a little bit. We settled in 3rd on the fence and chased the 2 leaders up the backstretch in fair fractions. At the top of the lane, Eddie spied an opening and angled him out, with a crisp tap with the stick. However, the Hopster didn't respond with much of a kick and midway through the stretch we knew running down the leaders wasn't going to happen.
Hopster held on gamely for 3rd, earning us our 5th check in a row, but was well beaten 6 lengths off the lead by PDQ Kiddo, a horse who had also beat the Great General Charley a few years ago. Later Trainer Block lamented that he doesn't think the Hopster prefers the Poly, but who knows?
As I stated earlier, we had a record crowd that joined us on this beautiful day at Arlington Park. Many newcomers were in attendance headlined by Kathy & my Best Man from our wedding back in 1985. John & Donna Bloniarz came out from the city, having accidentally appeared the day before when they misread the e-mail and came out Saturday - just a day too early. Ooopps. I can't tell you how much Kathy & I enjoyed reconnecting with them. Mother Rabbit, Mary Ann Thrun, came up fom Florida, while the western side of the country was represented by Steve & Jean's son Lou, wife Kristen and their 2 little cherubs.
Best part of the day was in the paddock as The Hopster was walking the ring awaiting Eddie to be boosted into the saddle. As Big Country legged Eddie up, loud spontaneous cheering broke out from the 80 some Rabbits with shouts of "Go Hops" & "Get Em Eddie!" with a lot of clapping and hollering. Well the Hopster got startled and side-stepped a couple strides but Eddie was as cool as a cucumber as he settled the Hopster & broke into a big smile as the cheering grew LOUD. You can see him smiling in the picture above. A great moment.
Lots of video below, please be patient as it loads, but as you can see,