11/01/2014 7:26PM

Work All Week gets payday in BC Sprint

Emily Shields
Work All Week, under Florent Geroux, denies Secret Circle a repeat win in the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Work All Week remained perfect on dirt and laid claim to the title of fastest horse in the world after holding off defending champion Secret Circle to register a half-length victory in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Saturday at Santa Anita.

Work All Week, a son of City Zip, is owned by his breeder, Richard Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds. Midwest is the nation’s leading owner in races won in 2014. Work All Week also was the first Breeders’ Cup starter for both his trainer, Roger Brueggemann, and jockey Florent Geroux.

Brueggemann, who worked as a mechanic for 30 years before taking out his trainer’s license in the late 1980s, is based at Hawthorne and had never won a Grade 1 race coming into the Breeders’ Cup.

The Sprint was Work All Week’s 12th victory in 15 career starts and his 10th in as many outings on dirt. He received a free berth into the Breeders’ Cup by virtue of his victory in the Win and You’re In, Grade 3 Phoenix at Keeneland four weeks earlier.

Work All Week broke alertly under Geroux and stalked the early pace of Fast Anna, who posted splits of 21.19 seconds for the opening quarter and 43.34 for a half-mile over a track upgraded from “good” to “fast” earlier in the day.

Work All Week forged to the lead nearing the eighth pole, edged clear, then withstood a late try from Secret Circle. The defending Sprint champion raced well placed but could not quite reach the winner over a surface that favored speed throughout the afternoon. Private Zone finished another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.   

Despite his perfect record on dirt, Work All Week returned a generous $40.20 after completing the distance in 1:08.28.

“He just does everything we ask, so it’s hard not to be confident in him,” said the modest and soft-spoken Brueggemann. “They kept saying we didn’t beat anybody. I wonder what they’ll say now.”

Geroux, whose father, former rider Dominique Geroux, was in attendance Saturday, said he had the utmost confidence in Work All Week despite the gelding’s humble beginnings. 

“It feels great, it’s like a dream come true,” said Florent Geroux. “To compete in this kind of race and win at the first try is unbelievable. I was very confident in my horse, and he was very sharp today. At the quarter pole, he caught a nice breather, and I knew he would be hard to catch.      

Papiese said Work All Week would be given time off at his farm in Ocala, Fla. He is scheduled to ship out Tuesday.

Trainer Bob Baffert said he was proud of Secret Circle in defeat.

“I knew that post was going to be tough,” said Baffert. “He tried hard. I thought he was going to get there, but he came up short. He ran too good to lose.”