10/03/2014 4:13PM

Work All Week delivers as favorite in Phoenix

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Work All Week and jockey Florent Geroux win the Grade 3 Phoenix Stakes by a length Friday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Work All Week won for the 11th time in 14 career starts and stamped his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint with a convincing triumph Friday in the 162nd running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Phoenix Stakes on opening day of the Keeneland fall meet.

An Illinois homebred carrying the Midwest Thoroughbreds colors, Work All Week got a perfect outside trip under Florent Geroux. Lapped onto early leader Zee Bros down the backstretch run of the six-furlong race, he easily took control leaving the quarter pole to spurt well ahead, finishing a length ahead of C. Zee in a field of seven.

“I really liked being outside,” said Geroux. “He could be one of the best sprinters in the country.”

Bet late down to favoritism, Work All Week returned $6.40 after finishing in 1:09 over a newly installed dirt surface rated “fast.” Roger Brueggemann trains the 5-year-old gelding for Midwest, the reigning four-time national wins leader owned and operated out of Chicago by Richard and Karen Papiese.

The Phoenix is a Win and You’re In event toward the Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Work All Week, by City Zip, is not BC-nominated and therefore would have to be made eligible via supplement, but Richard Papiese said he would be willing to pay those fees “if the horse comes back fine.”

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C. Zee, the only 3-year-old in the field, rallied from well back to finish two lengths before third-place Bern Identity, the 5-2 second choice. Rounding out the order of finish were Lemon Drop Dream, Rainbow Heir, Mr. Baker, and Zee Bros. Eastwood was an early scratch.

The $2 exacta (8-1) paid $45.60, the $1 trifecta (8-1-2) returned $80.40, and the 10-cent superfecta (8-1-2-3) was worth $34.56.