Confidence-building win for sprint champion Work All Week at Mountaineer
Work All Week returned to the win column in resounding fashion Saturday, romping to an eight-length victory in the $100,000 Robert C. Byrd Memorial at Mountaineer. The reigning sprint champion was an overwhelming 3-10 favorite among eight rivals with regular rider Florent Geroux and turned six furlongs over a tiring fast track in a highly respectable 1:09.71.
Bred in Illinois by owner Midwest Thoroughbreds, Work All Week captured his first 10 starts on dirt (his only setbacks coming on turf and all-weather tracks), capped by a 19-1 upset in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita that netted him the 2014 Eclipse Award.
However, the streak came to an end when opening this year with a second in the May 30 Aristides (G3) at Churchill Downs and the six-year-old gelded son of Speightstown was exiting another runner-up finish in the July 5 Smile Sprint (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Roger Brueggemann elected to send his charge to West Virginia on Saturday and the class relief proved beneficial, with Work All Week delivering a tour-de-force performance that puts him back on the right track for a Sprint title defense this fall.
The chestnut showed an affinity for the dirt track at Keeneland last fall, easily winning the Phoenix (G3) in advance of the Sprint, and he figures to prep once again in $250,000 six-furlong test on October 2.
Work All Week sprinted clear at the break, comfortably establishing early splits of :21.39 and :44.37 before continuing to draw off in the stretch, and he’s now earned $1,486,071 from a 18-13-4-0 record.
Saturday was the biggest day of the year at Mountaineer, with a nine-race stakes program featuring the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (G2), which was captured by Madefromlucky (click here for West Virginia Derby recap).
Other highlights on the undercard included:
Looks to Spare posted a 74-1 upset in the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s, rallying to lead in upper stretch and edging away to a 2 ½-length decision over 5-2 second choice Page McKenney in the 1 1/16-mile event. Claimed for $5,000 five starts previously by owner/trainer Otabek Umarov, the five-year-old gelding was exiting a last-place effort in the grassy Arlington H. (G3) on July 11. Deshawn Parker was up.
Market Magic made her stakes debut a winning one for trainer Bill Mott in the $100,000 West Virginia Senate President’s Cup, scoring by a half-length in the one-mile and 70-yard turf affair for distaffers. The 7-2 second choice was piloted by Edgar Prado and has now captured two straight, entering Saturday’s race off a conditioned allowance tally at Ellis Park on July 17.
Bullet Gone Astray, a son of Gone Astray who was exiting a debut score at Gulfstream Park on June 28, rolled to a nine-length triumph in the $100,000 Mountaineer Juvenile, which was reduced to only five contestants after four scratches. The Henry Collazo-trained colt was favored at 1-2.
The $100,000 Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies went to Sombree, who scored by 2 ½ lengths from just off the pace as the 12-1 sixth choice in a 12-horse field. The Eskendreya filly was last seen breaking her maiden in her third career start at Indiana Downs and is conditioned by Eric Reed.