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Mark Valeski, Mr. Bowling Ready for Big Test

Mark Valeski, Mr. Bowling Ready for Big Test

The Brereton Jones-owned coupling of Mark Valeski and Mr. Bowling, bracketed as a single wagering interest and the 2-1 morning-line choice for Sunday’s Grade II Louisiana Derby, were both doing fine Wednesday morning, trainer Larry Jones reported, as was Brereton Jones’s filly Believe You Can, pegged the as Saturday’s Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks’ 3-1 second choice.

 

“Mark Valeski just walked this morning (after breezing five-eighths Tuesday in 1:00.60),” Jones said, “and Mr. Bowling and Believe You Can went to the track again this morning and galloped (after working Monday). We’re in good shape here and looking forward to this weekend.”

 

The Hopkinsville, Kentucky-born trainer is also looking forward to this weekend’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four Tournament in New Orleans, which will include both the Bluegrass State’s University of Kentucky and University of Louisville.

 

Which team does Jones prefer?

 

“I don’t really care who wins as long as one of them does,” said Jones. “That’s a little like asking me if I favor Mark Valeski over Mr. Bowling in the Louisiana Derby.  I like ’em both. I don’t care who wins. It’s a win-win situation for me.”

 

STAR GUITAR FINE-TUNED FOR SUNDAY’S QUEST AS LOUISIANA’S TOP EARNER 

 

Brittlyn Stable’s Star Guitar will have the opportunity to become the all-time leading money-earning Louisiana-bred with a win in Sunday’s $90,000 Southern Oaks Plantation Costa Rising Stakes, and trainer Al Stall Jr. reported all was well with his Pelican State-bred star Wednesday morning.

 

“We’re right on schedule with him,” Stall said of Star Guitar. “I’m looking forward to seeing him running, and I’m grateful to people like Bobby Asaro for contributing to the purse. We’re lucky to have guys like that around here who really love the sport.”

 

NATES MINESHAFT BREEZES FOR SUNDAY’S BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS HANDICAP 

 

Windy Hill Farm’s Nates Mineshaft, with an upset win in Fair Grounds’ Grade III Mineshaft Handicap Feb. 25 that resulted in a $29.60 win payoff, breezed a half-mile Wednesday morning at Fair Grounds in 47.40 for trainer Austin Smith.

 

Jockey Jesse Campbell, aboard for Nates Mineshaft’s tally in the designed prep for the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap, will be in the irons once again for Sunday’s nine-furlong test. 

 

ARM FORCE OUT OF LOUISIANA DERBY 

 

Casner Racing’s Arm Force has elected not to travel to New Orleans for Sunday’s Louisiana Derby, according to Fair Grounds Racing Secretary Jason Boulet. Trainer Eoin Harty told Racing Office staff he is considering other, presumable softer, races for the Tiznow colt.

 

FLORIDA HORSES TO ARRIVE MIDDAY THURSDAY 

 

Weekend stakes entrants traveling by plane from Florida are expected to arrive on the grounds Thursday at about 1 p.m., according to stall superintendent Mario Torres.

 

 

 

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