01/06/2015 1:27PM

2014 Eclipse Awards: Midwest Thoroughbreds

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Tom Keyser

Richard and Karen Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds has long been known as a leader among blue-collar racing operations, but the Dyer, Ind., residents broke through on the biggest stage in 2014 with Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Work All Week.

The win capped another successful year for Midwest Thoroughbreds, which led all North American owners in wins for a fifth consecutive year, with 214 through Dec. 16. The stable also was second by earnings behind Ken and Sarah Ramsey with $5.6 million.

Work All Week was the first Grade 1 winner for the Papieses, who also bred the gelding, and his Sprint victory made him the second Illinois-bred Breeders’ Cup winner, joining 1998 Turf victor Buck’s Boy. Work All Week won 5 of 6 starts in 2014, including the Grade 3 Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland, and he dotted the map with wins in stakes at Prairie Meadows, Oaklawn Park, and Hawthorne.

Earlier in the year, Midwest Thoroughbreds earned its first graded stakes victory since beginning operations in 2001, when homebred The Pizza Man won the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes Stakes at Arlington Park. The Pizza Man took well to his home course in 2014, also winning the American St. Leger Stakes and Black Tie Affair Stakes at the Chicago-area track.

Midwest Thoroughbreds is best known for its success with its Illinois-breds and claimed horses, though the Papieses have been transitioning their breeding program to Thunder Ranch in Anthony, Fla., a comprehensive training and layup facility that they purchased in 2009.

Midwest Thoroughbreds was previously a finalist for an Eclipse Award as outstanding owner in 2011, 2012, and 2013. The Papieses compiled 542 wins in 2012, breaking the 38-year-old North American record established by owner Dan Lasater, who won 494 races in 1974.