07/30/2015 11:26AM

Work All Week seeks first win of year in Byrd Memorial

Nikki Sherman
Work All Week, winner of the Breeders' Cup Sprint last fall, will start in Saturday's Sen. Robert C. Byrd Memorial Stakes at Mountaineer.

Work All Week, the upset winner of last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint, looks to regain his confidence after a pair of odds-on defeats to begin his 2015 campaign in Saturday’s Sen. Robert C. Byrd Memorial Stakes at Mountaineer.

The six-furlong Byrd (race 6) is one of seven $100,000 races on the all-stakes card, which is anchored by the Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby and the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s.

The 6-year-old Work All Week, based at Churchill Downs with trainer Roger Brueggemann, has had to settle for runner-up finishes at 3-5 and 4-5 odds in his first two starts this season. His back-to-back Beyer Speed Figures of 93 are well below the four triple-digit figures he recorded during his 5-for-6 season in 2014, which included wins in the Grade 3 Phoenix (100 Beyer) and Grade 1 BC Sprint (105). He’s listed at 3-5 against seven rivals on the track’s morning line.

Work All Week’s most dangerous challenger appears to be Nates Mineshaft, a three-time graded stakes winner going two turns in 2012 who is now trying to develop into a sprinter at age 8. He is 0 for 8 since joining the barn of low-profile trainer Anne Smith, including six losses this season. His best recent performance came when he outran his 29-1 odds to get second going seven furlongs in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes three months ago.

Bump Start recorded two Beyers in the upper 90s during the fall of his 3-year-old campaign in 2014 but has yet to come close to those figures in his first two starts this year.

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In the other $100,000 stakes:

◗ Kiss Moon makes her first start since scoring an 8-1 upset in the Grade 3 Mint Julep Handicap in early June when she faces 11 other female turf runners in the West Virginia Senate President’s Cup at a mile and 70 yards.

◗ Happy My Way, second in last summer’s Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga and beaten less than a length in this spring’s Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap at Pimlico, could be a viable alternative to defending race winner Bet Seattle, who has been idle since February, in the 4 1/2-furlong West Virginia Legislature Chairman’s Cup.

◗ Knights Nation, who missed by a half-length in the Grade 2 Firecracker at Churchill last time out, and Aztec Brave, beaten a length in the Grade 3 Red Bank at Monmouth Park in May, look dangerous in the West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker’s Cup at a mile and 70 yards on turf.

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◗ Donita’s Ruler, who scored an 18-1 surprise two starts ago in the My Juliet at Parx; Heykittykittykitty, second in the Grade 3 Winning Colors in May; and Keep Crossing, the daylight winner of the Red Cross at Monmouth Park in June, are three prime contenders in the West Virginia Secretary of State for fillies and mares going six furlongs.

◗ Mayor Mac, the front-running winner of a fast maiden race at Churchill in his career debut, looks like the one to catch in the Mountaineer Juvenile at six furlongs.

◗ Cosmic Evolution and Adhara, the one-two finishers in the Debutante at Churchill in June, are rematched against 10 others in the Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies at six furlongs.

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