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Breeders Cup 2015

Mark Valeski Returns in Louisiana Handicap

Mark Valeski (no. 5), ridden by Rosie Napravnik and trained by J. Larry Jones, wins the 58th running of the grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes for three year olds on May 12, 2012 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. (Bob Mayberger/Eclipse Sportswire)
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.

The 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.

Fair 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 Hurricane Ike 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 Graham.

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).



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