Illinois can proudly claim Work All Week, the champion male sprinter of 2014. Not only was he bred in the state, but all of his connections come from Illinois. When he won the Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), he became only the second Illinois-bred to capture a Breeders' Cup event.
Owner/breeders Richard and Karen Papiese hail from such Midwest roots that they call their vast stable Midwest Thoroughbreds, which easily led all other owners by wins in 2014 with 219. Trainer Richard Brueggemann has made his name on the Illinois circuit, starting at Fairmount Park and working his way up to leading trainer several times at Hawthorne Race Course.
Brueggemann and his family dubbed Work All Week around the barn as "Workers," and the name aptly describes all members of his team. Work All Week hails from blue-collar stock, being out of Danzig Matilda, a mare the Papieses claimed while she was in foal.
The Papieses got Work All Week when they bred Danzig Matilda to City Zip. He arrived as a good-looking chestnut with a flashy blaze who grew up with a penchant for peppermints.
After spending his first two seasons at Illinois and Indiana tracks, Work All Week expanded his horizons in 2014. He collected stakes trophies at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas, Prairie Meadows in Iowa, and Keeneland in Kentucky.
He won five of six starts in 2014 and was second once for earnings of $1,131,173. A true sprinter, he won one race at 51⁄2 furlongs and the rest at six furlongs. That single loss, when second on Polytrack at Arlington International Racecourse, came while he was toting 130 pounds and giving 11 pounds to the winner in a minor stakes race.
Work All Week's victory in the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland earned him a "Win & You're In" berth to the Breeders' Cup World Championships. That gave him the opportunity to show the world what Midwestern hard work can accomplish.
As a 19-1 shot in a field of 14 in the Sprint, Work All Week sat just off the splits of pacesetter Fast Anna , who went :21.19 and :43.34, before taking charge and defeating 2013 Sprint winner Secret Circle in 1:08.28.
Work All Week's work was done.
Voting (Only first-place votes from members of the consolidated voting entities: National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form, and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters):