Mark Valeski, winner of Belmont’s
Grade II Peter Pan last summer and runner-up in last year’s
Grade II Louisiana Derby and Grade II Risen Star Stakes, breezed five furlongs last Sunday in 1:00.20 in preparation for the Grade III
Mineshaft Handicap as part of Louisiana Derby Preview Day Presented by Lamarque Ford
Feb. 23 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
The Mineshaft ’Cap is Fair Grounds’ designed prep for the
Grade II New Orleans Handicap, showcase race for older horses on the main track that will be run on
Louisiana Derby Day March 30.
“That was a pretty good work for Mark Valeski,” trainer
Larry Jones said during
training hours on Mardi Gras morning at Fair Grounds. “He’s really never
been much of a work horse but he surprised me a little bit in that
work. He actually galloped out on his own.
was up for the work,” Jones said speaking of Fair Grounds’ two-time defending
jockey champion. “She came
back and said he (Mark Valeski) did it all on his own and it surprised
her a little bit. Usually I don’t even have to be up on my pony when
Mark works because he
just eases up when it’s over. When she went by me on the pony I
just let her keep going, but
when it looked like she was having a little trouble pulling him up I
started to think I should have gone after her to help pull him up, but
she was able to handle him
just like always. But she did say he surprised her a little bit, too.”