Brereton Jones’ Mark Valeski
, absent from active competition since winning the Grade II Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park last May 12, accomplished a bullet three-furlong move in 36.20 Thursday morning at Fair Grounds in his first official work since then and was a perfect picture of health Friday morning when trainer Larry Jones proudly showed him off in his stall.
“I was really pleased with the way he went yesterday and he’s really looking great today,” Jones said. “He really seems to be responding well. I’ll probably give him another work in another six or seven days or so and then we’ll try to get him back on a regular schedule.”
Fair Grounds’ two-time defending jockey champion Rosie Napravnik was aboard for the move on the Proud Citizen colt who was runner-up by a half-length in the Grade II Louisiana Derby last season and second by a nose in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes before that.
Last spring’s Grade II Kentucky Oaks heroine Believe You Can
, who won the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks five weeks earlier for the Jones owner-trainer tandem, had her first work back last Monday, going the same three-eighths distance in 37.20.
Also on Thursday, Gillian Campbell et al.’s Summer Applause
worked five furlongs in 59 flat for trainer Bret Calhoun. Summer Applause finished second behind Believe You Can in last spring’s Fair Grounds Oaks but won the Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes before that.
Calhoun is pointing Summer Applause toward the $400,000 Houston Ladies at Sam Houston but hopes to tighten her up with a race at Fair Grounds prior to that Texas outing. Before Thursday’s move, Summer Applause had worked the same five-furlong distance in a minute flat on Nov. 29.