Workforce provided jockey Ryan Moore with a tremendous Classic double, romping to a seven-length victory in the Investec Derby (Eng-I) at Epsom June 5.
Moore, who weaved Snow Fairy through traffic to capture the Investec Oaks (Eng-I) just 24 hours earlier, had no such trouble this time. Workforce collared longtime leader At First Sight with under two furlongs to go and stormed home for an easy victory.
Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farm color-bearer broke the track record set by Lammtarra in 1995 (2:32.31) by almost a full second, getting home over the 12 furlongs in 2:31.33.
Workforce had always been highly regarded by trainer Sir Michael Stoute, and the betting public felt the same way, sending the colt off at odds of just 6-1. This despite the fact Workforce only had two previous career starts--a maiden win at 2 and a second-place finish in the Totesport Dante Stakes (Eng-II) in his only start this year.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was At First Sight, regarded as trainer Aidan O’Brien’s "third string," and dismissed at odds of 100-1. Entered in the Derby as a pacemaker for stablemates Jan Vermeer and Midas Touch, At First Sight almost stole the race.
Sent to the front immediately after the break, At First Sight set off on a strong gallop, and by the time the field rounded Tattenham Corner and entered the home straight, the chestnut colt had opened up a ten-length lead. It appeared as though the impossible were about to happen, as At First Sight continued to hold his advantage while the rest of the field seemed to be spinning its wheels and going nowhere.
The only colt who was up for the challenge was Workforce, who shot from the back of the pack like a rocket. The son of King's Best swept past At First Sight within a few strides and pulled away, winning easily.
At First Sight held on strongly for second, finishing a half-length in front of Rewilding. Favored Jan Vermeer (9-4) struggled home in fourth, four lengths further back. Afterward it was reported that the colt had lost both front shoes during the race.
The Derby victory, while the first for jockey Moore, was the fifth for champion trainer Stoute. Stoute had registered previous wins with Shergar (1981), Shahrastani (1986), Kris Kin (2003), and North Light (2004). The victory was the third for owner Juddmonte Farm, following Quest for Fame (1990) and Commander in Chief (1993).
The usually reserved Moore was overcome with emotion after the race. With tears in his eyes he told reporters, “We had a real clean run, I was always happy with him, he traveled beautifully. The ground was fast enough.”
“He’s a real good horse. This is the most important race to me.”
Stoute added, “I’m thrilled for Ryan as he missed Conduit in the St. Leger so it’s good for him to get the monkey off his back.”
Stoute continued, “It’s great for Prince Khalid Abdullah, as he is a great supporter of the yard and of the sport in Europe.”
Workforce was bred in England by his owner, Juddmonte Farm. A 3-year-old son of King’s Best, he is out of Soviet Moon, by Sadler’s Wells. Soviet Moon is a full sister to champion Brian Boru, who captured the Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I) and Seabiscuit St. Leger (Eng-I).
Workforce’s second dam is Eva Luna, who was champion older mare in England in 1997. By Alleged, Eva Luna is a half-sister to Rougeur (by Blushing Groom), the dam of 2001 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner, Flute.