Midwest Thoroughbreds' champion Work All Week, second in his two races this year after his Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) victory in 2014, got back on track with a win in the $100,000 Senator Robert C. Byrd Memorial Stakes Aug. 1 at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort.
Video: Senator Robert C. Byrd Memorial S. (BT)
With regular rider Florent Geroux in the irons for trainer Roger Brueggemann, Work All Week broke quickly to assume command in the six-furlong event, with early pressure from Jasizzle, a five-time winner at Mountaineer. Work All Week went :21.39 for the opening quarter-mile and :44.37 for the half-mile, with a comfortable lead over Jasizzle and jockey Luis Quinones.
Work All Week, an Illinois homebred by City Zip out of the Repriced mare Danzig Matilda, opened up by six lengths on Jasizzle in the lane and pulled away to win by eight lengths. Jasizzle held gamely for second, a length ahead of Bump Start.
The final time of 1:09.71 on a fast track was quite good, given the fact the main track appeared tiring in earlier races. Work All Week paid $2.60 to win and Mountaineer officials said more than $390,000 was wagered on him to show.
"You don't want him 1-9, because that's a lot of pressure," said Richard Papiese, who owns Midwest Thoroughbreds with his wife, Karen. "He had two bad breaks in his first two races this year, so it was good to have a clean break today."
Papiese said Work All Work, in the July 5 Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, broke through the gate and ended up with a gash on his head. In the May 30 Aristides Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs the 6-year-old gelding didn't break well.
Work All Week has now won 12 of 17 starts as he prepares to defend his Breeders' Cup Sprint title at Keeneland Oct. 31.
"We'll let him tell us what to do (about his next race), but we are pointing to the Phoenix Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland in October," Papiese said.
Brueggemann said he had planned to race Work All Week at Monmouth Park Aug. 2, but he decided not to because of all the commotion over American Pharoah running in the William Hill Haskell Invitational (gr. I) the same day.
"We would have had to go through a lot of hassles and Mountaineer was a much closer ship from Churchill Downs," the trainer said. "This is the first time I've been here and it's nice. His last three works were at Churchill and he'll go back there. If we find a race before the Phoenix, we'll look at it, because he bounces back quickly."