Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner Work All Week is the most accomplished performer in the July 5 Summit of Speed program at Gulfstream Park, and the champion male sprinter of 2014 looks to get his revenge on season debut spoiler Alsvid in the $250,000 Smile Sprint (gr. II).
Work All Week's streak of 15 straight starts with only first- and second-place finishes was launched on March 22, 2013, when he followed up a sixth-place debut with a 6 3/4-length maiden victory at Hawthorne. Bred and owned by Richard and Karen Papiese's Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc., the 6-year-old gelding excelled in allowance and ungraded stakes before earning a graded-stakes score and a berth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint in the Oct. 3 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (gr. III), a 'Win & You're In' event at Keeneland. The son of City Zip made the most of his fees-paid opportunity by posting a half-length victory over defending victor Secret Circle in the Nov. 1 Sprint at Santa Anita Park.
The Illinois-bred gelding was upset in his 2015 debut, in which he bruised a foot while finishing second behind Alsvid in the May 30 Aristides (gr. III) at Churchill Downs. Since then he has produced two bullet workouts, including a :46 1/5 breeze at the Louisville oval June 28.
"We weren't looking for him to work that fast, but he did it all on his own," said Richard Papiese, whose sprint champion is trained by Roger Brueggemann. "We hope it's an indication that he is going to run a big race this weekend."
Florent Geroux has the return mount aboard Work All Week, and the duo leaves post 8 while assigned 117 pounds.
Black Hawk Stable's Alsvid is set to take on Work All Week again in the Smile in search of his fourth straight win since being teamed with jockey Chris Landeros. The Chris Hartman-trained 6-year-old gelding, who has earned $994,225 while finishing first or second in 20 of 30 lifetime starts, won twice at Oaklawn Park, including a triumph in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (gr. III), before upsetting the Breeders' Cup champ in the Aristides. His two-length victory at Churchill marked his first success over Work All Week, who had defeated him in two previous meetings.
Smile entrant Grande Shores has hardly been keeping the heady company that Work All Week has been facing lately, but the Stanley Gold-trained veteran sprinter manages to measure up to the Churchill-based champion in terms of remarkable dependability, especially for exacta bettors.
Like Work All Week, Gulfstream-based Grande Shores has finished no worse than second in his last 15 starts. The 7-year-old Jacks or Better homebred seemingly has gotten better with age after his career had been compromised by a chronic digestive disorder.
Grande Shores is scheduled to clash with Work All Week and seven other rivals in the six-furlong Smile, a Breeders' Cup "Win & You're In"event on the Summit of Speed program that also includes the $250,000 Princess Rooney (gr. II), the $150,000 Azalea (gr. III), the $150,000 Carry Back (gr. III), and five other stakes.
"He deserves the shot, but it's like running in the Breeders' Cup," said Gold, whose veteran trainee is a half-brother to multiple grade I-stakes winner Jackson Bend. "He's earned the shot to test the best."
While others will be shipped from out of town, Grande Shores will contest the Smile on his home track, where he captured the Parrot Key Stakes on June 6.
"I don't know if it'll be an advantage. It might be a minus to some of the others, and it won't be a minus for us," said Gold, whose horse hasn't finished worse than second since running fifth in the Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 18, 2014. "It's only a plus for me if it's a minus for someone else. But I'm glad it's here and I'm not thinking about going out of town."
Gold understands that Grande Shores will be sternly tested in the Smile, but he's also confident that the son of Black Mambo will try his best.
"I know he's going to run his heart out," Gold said. "There's going to be plenty of speed in it and he'll be coming. I'd rather see it be seven (furlongs) instead of six. He's going to have to be coming faster and start sooner. He's earned the shot. You hate to possibly get over-matched, but I can't say he is overmatched."
Eddie Castro, who rode Grande Shores to victory in the Parrot Key, has the call for the Smile from post 5 as part of a 119-pound impost.
For many who are still celebrating the Triple Crown victory of American Pharoah , jockey Victor Espinoza will be the biggest attraction in the Smile Sprint and other races on the Summit of Speed program. Espinoza, who has had a whirlwind public appearance schedule since guiding American Pharoah to a commanding and historic victory in the Belmont Stakes presented by DraftKings (gr. I) on June 6, is scheduled to ride Gulfstream Park-based City of Weston in the Smile. The Peter Walder-trained 5-year-old son of Holy Bull prevailed over Grande Shores in the Blue Heron Stakes before falling to that rival in the Parrot Key.
Espinoza, who is scheduled to sign commemorative posters prior to Sunday's card, has six mounts on the day and will ride City of Weston from the 3 hole. City of Weston also carries 119.
Honors Stable Corp.'s Wildcat Red, who captured the Hutcheson (gr. III) and the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II) before finishing a close second in the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream last year, is set to return from a layoff of more than five months in the Smile. Trained by Jose Garoffalo, the 4-year-old son of D'wildcat has finished first in six of nine starts over the Gulfstream surface. Javier Castellano, the defending two-time Eclipse Award winner, captured the Hutcheson aboard Wildcat Red and has the mount from post 2. Castellano is scheduled to ride in 11 of 12 races Sunday.
Newtown Anner Stud and Joseph Bulger's Falling Sky is another Smile entrant who has shown an affinity for the Gulfstream surface. The 5-year-old son of Lion Heart, who is scheduled to make his first start since August and first outing for trainer Marty Wolfson, captured the 2014 Gulfstream Park Sprint (gr. III).
PJG Stable's Favorite Tale, a Parx Racing shipper trained by Guadalupe Preciado, also brings graded stakes credentials into the Smile, having won the Gallant Bob (gr. III) over his home track last fall. The 4-year-old son of Tale of the Cat is slated to make his third start of 2015 after finishing fifth in the True North (gr. II) at Belmont Park last time out.
Singanothersong, who will seek his first victory since capturing the 2013 Mr. Prospector (gr. III) at Gulfstream; and Ledokol, a recent impressive optional claiming allowance winner who will seek his fourth straight victory, round out the field.
The Summit of Speed will be broadcast by Horse Racing Radio Network from 4-6 p.m. EDT on Sirius channel 92 and via live streaming provided on the HRRN website. Mike Penna will anchor the coverage along with analyst Jude Feld. Gulfstream Park announcer Pete Aiello will provide the live race calls. In addition, HRRN will broadcast "The Equine Forum" live from Gulfstream Park on Saturday morning from 8-10 a.m. ET, also on Sirius 92/XM 92 and streamed on the HRRN website.
Gulfstream Park, Sunday, July 05, 2015, Race 11
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Favorite Tale (PA) Edgard J. Zayas 117 Guadalupe Preciado - 2 2Wildcat Red (FL) Javier Castellano 117 Jose Garoffalo - 3 3City of Weston (FL) Victor Espinoza 119 Peter R. Walder - 4 4Alsvid (KY) Chris Landeros 121 Chris A. Hartman - 5 5Grande Shores (FL) Eddie Castro 119 Stanley I. Gold - 6 6Falling Sky (PA) Edgar S. Prado 117 Martin D. Wolfson - 7 7Singanothersong (KY) Juan C. Leyva 117 Ronald Pellegrini - 8 8Work All Week (IL) Florent Geroux 117 Roger A. Brueggemann - 9 9Ledokol (ON) Pedro L. Cotto, Jr. 117 Marcial Navarro -
Gulfstream Park, Sunday, July 05, 2015, Race 11