Brereton Jones’s Mark Valeski
, who finished second in last
year’s Grade II Louisiana Derby as well as last year’s Grade II Risen
Star Stakes, returns to action in Saturday’s 67th running of the
$100,000 Louisiana Handicap for older horses at 1 1/16-miles.
Louisiana Handicap, along with Saturday’s Grade III Lecomte Stakes for
3-year-olds and Saturday’s $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes for
3-year-old fillies, completes Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots’
three-stakes race troika for this weekend’s Road to the Derby Kickoff
Day Presented by Hotel Monteleone.
Mark Valeski, who has
been away from competition since winning last spring’s Grade II Peter
Pan Stakes at Belmont Park May 12, has been installed as the 5-2 morning
line favorite in the Louisiana Handicap, first leg of Fair Grounds’
three-race series for older horses that concludes with the Grade II New
Orleans Handicap on Louisiana Derby Day, March 30.
Grounds’ two-time defending jockey champion Rosie Napravnik is named in
the saddle on Mark Valeski, trained by Larry Jones, who is assigned 119
pounds in the Louisiana ’Cap.
Ike and Dawn Thrash’s
is the 7-2 second choice in the Louisiana ’Cap morning
line after winning the $75,000 Tenacious Handicap here Dec. 15 and gets
in with 118 pounds, most of which will be made up by jockey James
Completing the Louisiana Handicap field, with
respective jockeys, weights and odds assigned, is Winchell
Thoroughbreds’ Brethren, Shaun Bridgmohan, 116 (4-1); Z Thoroughbreds’
Infrattini, Miguel Mena, 121 (5-1); Gary and Mary West’s Self Control,
Brian Hernandez Jr., 116 (6-1); Keith Plaisance’s Wash Park, Richard
Eramia, 115 (8-1); Bluegrass Hall’s Raison d’Etat, Jon Court, 113
(12-1); and Raut LLC;s Macho Bull, Iram Diego, 112 (20-1).