Updated on 05/24/2011 4:21PM

Sandown: Workforce starting year in Brigadier Gerard

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Workforce will be favored over eight opponents in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes on Thursday at Sandown, the 4-year-old’s first start since winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last Oct. 3. Workforce, a winner in 3 of his 5 career starts, also captured the Epsom Derby last summer in England.

After his win in the Arc, Workforce was shipped to Churchill Downs to start in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, but he failed to make the starting gate. His connections, Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms and trainer Michael Stoute, felt course conditions in Kentucky were not suitable for the horse, and Workforce was scratched the morning of the BC Turf.

At anything close to his best, Workforce would easily win the Brigadier Gerard, but this race of minor significance may serve as a mere prep for more important spots later in the summer. Workforce’s opposition may be headed by another horse making his 2011 debut, Jan Vermeer. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, Jan Vermeer has not started since he finished third to BC Turf third-place finisher Behkabad in the Grand Prix de Paris last July 14. Earlier last year he was third behind Cape Blanco in the Irish Derby and fourth to Workforce in the Epsom Derby.

◗ Jockey Mike Smith will have his first-ever mount in England this week when he rides Royal Ascot hopeful Gentlemans Code for trainer Wesley Ward at Folkstone on Thursday.