Workin for Hops Wins Monday Feature

Estrorace LLC’s Workin for Hops, away alertly and quickly in command, relinquished the lead in the run down the backstretch but rallied strongly in the lane to capture Monday’s $45,000 optional claiming grass feature for 2-year-olds by 4 1/2-lengths.

The winner, trained by Michael Stidham and ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., paid $12, $4.60 and $3.20, accomplished the about one mile distance over the Stall-Wilson turf course in 1:41.63 and increased his career earnings to $45,400 with his second victory in three lifetime starts.

Blu Shu Stables’ Mountain Justice, never far back, continued willingly late to gain the place by three lengths over Stacey Moak’s Rock Hard, who had no speed but rallied late. Mountain Justice returned $2.60 and $2.60 while Rock Hard paid $5.80 for the show.

The winner alternated with Flatter Than Me for early splits of 25.37 and 50.70 before that rival weakened late to finish sixth.

Racing resumes Thursday at Fair Grounds with a nine-race New Year’s Eve program that features both divisions of the Louisiana Futurity. First post Thursday is 1 p.m.