Midwest Thoroughbreds, which has won multiple leading owner titles at various racetracks in recent years, is hoping its two stable stars punch their tickets to the Breeders' Cup in races at Keeneland during its opening weekend.
Work All Week, a 6-year-old City Zip gelding, won last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park to earn an Eclipse Award as champion male sprinter. He is one of 12 entered in the Oct. 2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (gr. III).
Both were bred in Illinois by Richard and Karen Papiese, who own Midwest Thoroughbreds.
"It's all good," Richard Papiese said Sept. 29 during a media teleconference on the weekend's major races. "You go into any race trying to win. The big thing is for the horse to come out of the race good."
Work All Week has raced only three times this year, with two seconds in graded stakes and a victory in the Sen. Robert Byrd Memorial Stakes at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in his last start Aug. 1. Papiese and trainer Roger Brueggemann after the Mountaineer race said Work All Week would be pointed to the Phoenix.
"He may need a race to qualify for the Breeders' Cup—we're not sure," Papiese said, noting the Phoenix is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" event for the Sprint. "We're actively trying to control our destiny here. It would also be nice to win the Shadwell with (The Pizza Man), and he fits there. He can go from one mile to forever (in distance).
"I'm sure it will be a stellar group. Our objective is to get him a race over this course."
The geldings combined earnings stand at just shy of $3 million. Work All Week has won 13 of 18 races, and The Pizza Man has won 15 of 23 starts.