“He’s going to work tomorrow at Churchill Downs, weather permitting,” said Richard Papiese, who campaigns the sprinting star with his wife, Karen, under the colors of Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc. “He’s coming back from a bruise – he bruised his foot in his last race. He seems to be coming back well. If he’s 100 percent, he’ll come.”
Work all Week, who posted a half-length triumph in the $1.5 million Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita in November to clinch the Eclipse Award as North America’s champion sprinter of 2014, finished second in his 2015 debut in the Aristides (G3) at Churchill on May 30. The 6-year-old gelded son of City Zip bobbled at the start before setting the pace and coming up short in the stretch to finish two lengths behind Alsvid, also a top candidate for the Smile.
“When he hopped out of the gate, when he came down, he bruised his foot,” said Papiese, whose champion is trained by Roger Brueggermann.
Work All Week brings a solid series of four workouts into Sunday morning’s breeze at Churchill.
The Illinois-bred gelding finished sixth in his debut on Nov. 11, 2012 but hasn’t finished worse than second in 15 subsequent starts, including 12 victories.
“He’s brought us a lot of enjoyment. To be a part of it, it’s incredible. We’ve had a couple horses like that,” said Papiese, also referring to The Pizza Man, a graded-stakes winner who has amassed more than $850,000 in earnings from 13 victories in 21 starts. “We’re very blessed. The other thing is that we bred both of them, which is pretty neat.”
Midwest Thoroughbreds has been the most dominant owner in North America in recent years, having ranked first in victories for the last five years while finishing first in earnings in three of those five years. Since 2003, Midwest Thoroughbreds runners have won 2,226 races and $38.7 million in purses.
Joes Blazing Aaron Back to Summit
Graded stakes winner Joes Blazing Aaron returned to Gulfstream Park running Thursday afternoon. The 7-year-old gelding led every step of the way while winning a $62,500 optional claiming event over a mile turf course in 1:33.67 while setting fractions of :23.66, :46.86 and 1:09.95.
"He came back good, just like an older horse who knows he won a race" said Peter Walder, who saddled Joes Blazing Aaron for the first time Thursday and now is pointing him toward the $1.175 million Summit of Speed at Gulfstream July 5.
Joes Blazing Aaron, a winner of eight of 40 starts and more than $400,000, had raced twice in California for Looch Racing after being claimed for $62.000 in February. But after finishing eighth in the San Luis Rey (G2) and seventh in the Last Tycoon (G3), Walder asked Looch to send the gelding to him at Gulfstream.
"Actually, I begged him," Walder said. "I even told (Looch Racing's Ron Paolucci) that if he sent him to me I'd pay a portion of his shipping. That's how adamant I was. Ron has horses with a lot of trainers and we're all a team For whatever reason, (Joes Blazing Aaron) may not have cared for California. I remembered the horse running back (east) and I knew he liked Gulfstream."
Walder, who said he wasn't surprised by Joes Blazing Aaron's performance after working earlier in the week in :59 1/5, said he would point the gelding toward the $75,000 The Miesque's Approval at 1 1/16 mile Sunday, July 5.
Sheer Drama Returns to Gulfstream Following Fleur de Lis (G2) Effort
Sheer Drama, winner of Gulfstream’s Royal Delta Stakes (G2) in March, has returned home to David Fawkes’ barn on the Gulfstream backside following a strong runner-up performance in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) on June 13and is doing well, according to trainer David Fawkes.
“She came out of the race in really good order, she’s home, and she went to the track this morning,” Fawkes said. “She’s doing really good.”
A 5-year-old daughter of Burning Roma and a half-sibling to 2010 Eclipse Champion Sprinter Big Drama, Sheer Drama shipped to Louisville for a second straight start after also finishing second, beaten just ¾-length by the now-retired Molly Morgan, in the La Troienne (G1) on the Kentucky Derby undercard. In the Fleur de Lis, the Florida bred rallied gamely but could not catch the Churchill-loving Frivolous, who also won last year’s Falls City Handicap (G2) over the same racetrack.
Sheer Drama has yet to finish worse than second in 2015, stringing together an impressive streak of stakes wins and placings since debuting as the runner-up to the Todd Pletcher-trained Dame Dorothy, who has since won the Humana Distaff (G1), in the Sunshine Millions Distaff in January. Her 5-year-old season, though only halfway complete, has unquestionably been her best.
“I think the biggest thing is maturity,” Fawkes said. “She’s put a bunch of weight on. She’s very easy to deal with when it comes to racing her compared with how she was as a young horse. Her nerves don’t make her make any mistakes. In order to win, you have to be calm.”
Fawkes said the Delaware Handicap (G1) on July 18 could be next for the Harold L. Queen color bearer.
“All year, we’d been planning on [the Fleur de Lis],” he said. “We were between the Fleur de Lis and the Ogden Phipps (G1, at Belmont Park on June 6), but we decided on [the former] because it was two turns. We’ve also been looking at the Delaware Handicap. That’s our next possibility.”