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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Mark Valeski Almost Ready to Roll in 2013

When last seen, Mark Valeski looked like a million bucks while winning Belmont’s Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes last May. I’m happy to say that the now four-year-old son of Proud Citizen is looking good again, he worked five furlongs in 59.80 this morning at Fair Grounds, and is not far from a return to the races. I’m especially pleased to report this because not only is Mark Valeski a talented horse who could well be a force in the older male division, but his connections also have given plenty of reason to root for a successful return. 

The handy Peter Pan victory came for the Larry Jones trained bay colt in only his third lifetime try at more than six furlongs. His first two attempts at route racing resulted in a pair of tough luck, second place finishes at Fair Grounds in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes and million dollar Louisiana Derby. Surely, many connections would have thrown the lightly raced horse into the fire of the 20-horse Kentucky Derby scrum after such promising races in New Orleans. Larry Jones, and owner Brereton Jones did not do that. They brought their young star to Churchill Downs, saying they would only run him in the Derby if the trainer thought he had a real shot at winning. Larry Jones watched him train in Louisville, and decided no, the Derby was not best for his charge. Say what you will about the brave decision being in part a reaction to the tragedy of his Eight Belles four years earlier, but regardless, it was an admirable decision not to run Mark Valeski in the Derby.

Demonstrating that the decision was not based on anything being wrong with Mark Valeski, he won the Peter Pan impressively one week later. Soon after, his connections once again had the opportunity to show that in the case of Mark Valeski, the horse comes first. 

The homebred was found to have a small chip, after Larry Jones, a consummate horseman, felt like the colt was not quite himself while galloping. Instead of trying to push through the minor injury, or rushing him back for a fall campaign, Jones and Jones immediately shut him down, had the chip cleaned out, and patiently waited for their star to come back as a completely healthy older horse. They may have missed races like the Kentucky Derby, Haskell, and Travers, but they did the right thing for the horse.

It’s undecided when he will make his return, but Larry Jones says the $100,000 Louisiana Handicap in thirteen days is under some consideration for Mark Valeski. My guess is that he will only run if he is really ready, and when he does run, I for one, will be rooting to see the very best of a well cared for Mark Valeski.
 

 

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Older Comments about Mark Valeski Almost Ready to Roll in 2013...

good colt last years does not mean good colt this year.......Dozens and dozens of examples
Just love to hear that the horse comes first. Bravo, Mr.Jones, you are one of a kind. Hopefully, Mark Valeski, will have a brilliant career, as an older horse. there a plenty of races in the future.
Just love to hear that the horse comes first. Bravo, Mr.Jones, you are one of a kind. Hopefully, Mark Valeski, will have a brilliant career, as an older horse. there a plenty of races in the future.
He'll probably dominate that race for sure.
Great article and I too will be looking for Valeski to impresski this year.
MV could make the handicap ranks even more interesting in 2013. You know I'm a big fan of Larry Jones.
Mark Valeski is one lucky horse to have the trainer and owner he does Will be happy to be watching him this year

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.