Triple Crown Champion Jockey Victor Espinoza Set to Ride on Program
Eclipse Champion Jockey Javier Castellano Named to Ride in 11 Races
12 Races, Nine Stakes, Draw 128 Entries
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Work All Week figures to be the most accomplished performer in Sunday’s $250,000 Smile Sprint (G2) on the $1.175 million Summit of Speed program at Gulfstream Park. However, the 2014 Eclipse Award sprint champion’s record isn’t exactly beyond compare.
Smile entrant Grande Shores has hardly been keeping the heady company that Work All Week has been facing lately, but the Stanley Gold-trained veteran sprinter manages to measure up to the celebrated Churchill Downs-based champion in terms of remarkable dependability, especially for exacta bettors.
Like Work All Week, Gulfstream-based Grande Shores has finished no worse than second in his last 15 starts.
The 7-year-old Jacks or Better homebred seemingly has gotten better with age after his career had been compromised by a chronic digestive disorder that is under control but still demands constant monitoring. Grande Shores is scheduled to clash with Work All Week and seven other rivals in the six-furlong Smile, a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win & You’re In’ event on the Summit of Speed program that also includes the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), the $150,000 Azalea (G3), the $150,000 Carry Back (G3) and five other stakes.
Sunday's Summit of Speed program (First Post: 12:30 p.m.) will include 12 races that drew full fields with a total of 128 entries. Guarantees will be offered for the 20-Cent Rainbow 6 ($100,000 jackpot carryover pool), Late Pick 4 ($100,000) and Pick 5 ($50,000). All three multi-race wagers will include all-stakes sequences. The Smile is carded as the 11th race, in which Grande Shores will seek his first graded success.
“He deserves the shot, but it’s like running in the Breeders’ Cup,” said Gold, whose veteran trainee is a half-brother to multiple Grade 1-stakes winner Jackson Bend. “He’s earned the shot to test the best.”
While others will be shipped from out of town, Grande Shores will contest the Smile on his home track, where he captured the Parrot Key Stakes on June 6.
“I don’t know if it’ll be an advantage. It might be a minus to some of the others, and it won’t be a minus for us,” said Gold, whose trainee hasn’t finished worse than second since finishing fifth in the Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 18, 2014. “It’s only a plus for me if it’s a minus for someone else. But I’m glad it’s here and I’m not thinking about going out of town.”
Gold understands that Grande Shores will be sternly tested in the Smile, but he’s also confident that the son of Black Mambo will try his best.
“I know he’s going to run his heart out,” Gold said. “There’s going to be plenty of speed in it and he’ll be coming. I’d rather see it be seven (furlongs) instead of six. He’s going to have to be coming faster and start sooner. He’s earned the shot. You hate to possibly get over-matched, but I can’t say he is overmatched.”
Eddie Castro, who rode him to victory in the Parrot Key, has the call for the Smile.
Work All Week’s streak of 15 straight starts with only first- and second-place finishes was launched on March 22, 2013, when he followed up a sixth-place debut with a 6 ¾-length maiden victory at Hawthorne.
Bred and owned by Richard and Karen Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc., the 6-year-old gelding excelled in allowance and ungraded stakes before earning a graded-stakes score and a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in the Phoenix Stakes (G3), a ‘Win & You’re In’ event at Keeneland Oct. 3. The son of City Zip made the most of his fees-paid opportunity by posting a half-length victory over defending champion Secret Circle in the Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.
Work All Week was upset in his 2015 debut, in which he bruised a foot while finishing second behind Alsvid in the Aristides (G3) at Churchill Downs on May 30. The Illinois-bred gelding has produced two subsequent ‘bullet’ workouts, including a 46.20-second in breeze in Kentucky Sunday.
“We weren’t looking for him to work that fast, but he did it all on his own,” said Richard Papiese, whose sprint champion is trained by Roger Brueggemann. “We hope it’s an indication that he is going to run a big race this weekend.”
Florent Geroux has the return mount aboard Work All Week.
Black Hawk Stable’s Alsvid is set to take on Work All Week again in the Smile in search of his fourth straight win since being teamed with jockey Chris Landeros. The Chris Hartman-trained 6-year-old gelding, who has earned $994,225 while finishing first or second in 20 of 30 lifetime starts, won twice at Oaklawn Park, including a triumph in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3), before upsetting the Breeders’ Cup champ in the Aristides. His two-length victory at Churchill marked his first success over Work All Week, who had defeated him in two previous meetings.
For many who are still celebrating American Pharoah’s Triple Crown sweep, jockey Victor Espinoza will be the biggest attraction in the Smile Sprint and other races on the Summit of Speed program. Espinoza, who has had a whirlwind public appearance schedule since guiding American Pharoah to a commanding and historic victory in the Belmont Stakes on June 6, is scheduled to ride Gulfstream Park-based City of Weston in the Smile. The Peter Walder-trained 5-year-old son of Holy Bull prevailed over Grande Shores in the Blue Heron Stakes before falling to that rival in the Parrot Key.
Espinoza, who is scheduled to sign commemorative posters prior to Sunday's card, has six mounts on the day.
Honors Stable Corp.’s Wildcat Red, who captured the Hutcheson (G3) and the Fountain of Youth (G2) before finishing a close second in the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream last year, is set to return from a layoff of more than five months in the Smile. Trained by Jose Garoffalo, the 4-year-old son of D’wildcat has finished first in six of nine starts over the Gulfstream surface. Javier Castellano, the defending two-time Eclipse Award winner who has captured the Champions Meet title for four years running, captured the Hutcheson aboard Wildcat Red. Castellano is scheduled to ride in 11 of 12 races Sunday.
Newtown Anner Stud and Joseph Bulger’s Falling Sky is another Smile entrant who has shown an affinity for the Gulfstream surface. The 5-year-old son of Lion Heart, who is scheduled to make his first start since August and first outing for trainer Marty Wolfson, captured the 2014 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3).
PJG Stable’s Favorite Tale, a Parx shipper trained by Guadalupe Preciado, also brings graded-stakes credentials into the Smile, having won the Gallant Bob (G3) over his home track last fall. The 4-year-old son of Tale of the Cat is slated to make his third start of 2015 after finishing fifth in the True North (G2) at Belmont last time out.
Singanothersong, who will seek his first victory since capturing the 2013 Mr. Prospector (G3) at Gulfstream; and Ledokol, a recent impressive optional claiming allowance winner who will seek his fourth straight victory, round out the field.