STICKNEY/CICERO - - Two Illinois-bred stakes with pots of $100,000 set at six furlongs on the dirt were contested on a drizzly, windy and mild mid-November afternoon at Hawthorne Race Course. Both stakes saw strong favorites head to the winner circle. Both stakes winners were owned by Midwest Thoroughbreds, trained by Roger Brueggemann, and ridden by Francisco Torres.
Lightning Jet Handicap: WORK ALL WEEK goes gate to wire
If a horse is made a morning line favorite of less than 1/1 (even money), there's a pretty good chance the public thinks the horse is a sure thing to win. Said horse with the low odds was WORK ALL WEEK, whose only blemish on the year came in the Cammack Handicap across town at Arlington. Breaking as the outermost of seven, he took money from opening ball to gate opening, with a negative show pool in play as well.
The concern from this corner with favored WORK ALL WEEK was whether he would clear the field from the outside box. And when he was in front by 2 1/4 lengths at the first quarter timed in a reasonable :22.23, the concern had melted away. It wasn't even a concern to trainer Roger Brueggemann, as he remarked in a post-race interview to Picks and Ponderings.
WORK ALL WEEK remained on the lead for every inch of the six furlong stake, passing the half in :45.28 and stopping the clock for six furlongs in 1:09.56 on a fast track with the winning margin pared down to a length and a half. That outside post became "what outside post?" The homebred four-year-old Illinois-bred by City Zip was sent off the heavy favorite at 2/5 odds and returned $2.80 to win. As mentioned before, Francisco Torres was aboard.
FOUR LEFT FEET would close from the back of the back to grab second in the stakes, a length to the better of SWEET LUCA, who pressed the pace and chased all the way around. Another half-length behind the top three was another Midwest/Brueggemann production, SIGNSEALNDELIVER.
Winning trainer Roger Brueggemann "wanted to control everything" from the outside post and (as mentioned before) scoffed the concerns of being outside the field. Brueggemann plans to take his stakes winner to Oaklawn Park in Arkansas with others in his winter string, as an open stakes for fifty grand is out there with his name on it.
The $2 8-6 exacta of WORK ALL WEEK and FOUR LEFT FEET paid $20.00. The fifty-cent 8-6-1 trifecta of WORK ALL WEEK, FOUR LEFT FEET, and SWEET LUCA netted $19.20. Dime 8-1-6-3 superfectas with SIGNSEALNDELIVER in the fourth slot yielded$6.44.
Powerless Handicap: MISSJEANLOUISE Repeats
Two races later came the Powerless Handicap, with the Torres/Brueggemann/Midwest team again sending the favorite to post in MISSJEANLOUISE, who won this race last year. The afternoon drizzle and light rain had changed the track composition to have it rated "wet fast" for the Powerless, but that didn't stop the public from making MISSJEANLOUISE the 7/5 favorite.
The early pace came from longshot KEL'S DREAMER, who got to the front after a quarter timed in :22.04. But as soon as she got to the lead, KEL'S DREAMER threw out the parachute after being steadied and no longer would be a factor. That put MISSJEANLOUISE on the lead, the half clocked in a zippy :45.27, with BEAUTY OF SCARLET and DOLLY PEACH near to the front end. Once MISSJEANLOUISE got to the lead, Francisco Torres kept her out front and out clear, with the five-year-old Illinois-bred by Victory Gallop first under the line.
MISSJEANLOUISE would emerge clear by a length and three-quarters at the finish, stopping the clock in 1:10.42 for six furlongs on a "wet fast" track. As with the Lightning Jet, a deep closer got up for second in FIRE TRICKS. She finished three-quarters of a length to the better of another Brueggemann-conditioned horse, BEAUTY OF SCARLET. GIRLS ROCK N RULE completed the superfecta. WILD HOPE bled during the race.
Winning trainer Roger Brueggemann noted that MISSJEANLOUISE "is as fast anything in the race" but wasn't concerned about a fair amount of on-paper pace as "she's been taking herself back. And she likes an off track."
As with WORK ALL WEEK, Brueggemann plans to take MISSJEANLOUISE to Oaklawn with his winter string, seeking out a small stakes or an upper crust allowance race in Arkansas as a possibility for a next race. The Powerless win would be a repeat victory for the horse, trainer, and owner, who also swept the sprint stakes last year. The Torres/Brueggemann/Midwest team would win three races on the day, including the two stakes. (Florent Geroux piloted the winners last year.)
The $2 4-2 exacta of MISSJEANLOUISE and FIRE TRICKS paid $31.00. The fifty-cent 4-2-6 trifecta of MISSJEANLOUISE, FIRE TRICKS, and BEAUTY OF SCARLET yielded $34.45. Dime superfectas with GIRLS ROCK N RULE in the fourth position netted $38.76.
All photos courtesy Four Footed Fotos.
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