Valeski, runner-up in last month’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes, made a case for
favoritism in the $1 million Louisiana Derby (Gr. II) on April 1, breezing an
impressive five furlongs in :59 2/5 under regular rider Rosie
Napravnik, the fastest of 11 works at
the distance by a full second.
The 3-year-old Proud
Citizen colt, owned by former Kentucky governor Brereton Jones,
worked after the break at 8:30 a.m. and accomplished the five-eighths through
splits of :12 1/5, :24, :36 and : 47 4/5 before finishing the final eighth
under no urging from Napravnik in :11 3/5. They galloped out six furlongs in
“It was a little quicker than what we had designed to go,” trainer Larry
Jones said. “I told her I wanted to work somewhere about a minute or a
minute and one. She came back and said she thought he went a little bit quick
but she said he was really rolling. It was really good.
“When I looked at him going into the last race I thought he was
fat. I started second-guessing myself as we were leading him over. I was
thinking, boy, he’s fat. But he really looks the way we want him right now.
He’s really done great and that race put him right where we want to be. We’re
expecting a big performance.”
The move was Mark Valeski’s first official work since coming out
on the losing end of a head-to-head stretch duel with El Padrino through
the final furlong of the Feb. 25 Risen Star. Mark Valeski to progress to
the Kentucky Derby. If you are playing the races, you may want to look at
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“Someone called me the other day while I was driving to Oaklawn
and said, ‘It’s been a long time since Mark Valeski worked, what’s the matter
with him?’ Jones said. “Apparently nothing’s the matter with him. I don’t know;
I don’t work my horses as often as a lot of people do. I’ve been galloping him
and I don’t let any grass grow under his feet when I gallop him.
“I don’t know how people got to thinking that horses need to work
every week once you’ve got them fit and ready to go. I’ve been around him long
enough to know what he needs. If there’s something wrong with Mark Valeski,
then there must be something wrong with Believe You Can and Mr.
Bowling, too, because they all worked today for the first time since they
all raced on the same day. That’s the way we do it. We’ve got them fit and we
just have to hold them there. We’re trying to make them last because we want
them to be around for a while.”
Mr. Bowling, the Grade III Lecomte Stakes winner in January,
worked earlier in the morning, breezing five furlongs in 1:03 4/5 under
exercise rider Jen Brasser. The Istan colt, also owned by Brereton
Jones, worked through splits of :12 2/5, :24 1/5, :37 4/5 and :50 4/5.
“Mr. Bowling has always been a slow worker,” Larry Jones said. “He
just doesn’t think it’s a lot of fun out there by himself. If the race doesn’t
overfill to where he would be excluded for being the same owner (as Mark
Valeski), right now we have intentions of running them both.”
Mr. Bowling, who finished last of 11 in the Risen Star, will work
in company early next week.
“We’ll probably work him Monday with Believe You Can,” Jones said.
“I’ll probably work Mark on Tuesday since the race is on Sunday. Normally I
would work Mr. Bowling on Tuesday but I want him to work in company and I don’t
want to make Mark go any faster. But the filly sets pretty good and she’ll take
the workmate well.”
Believe You Can, the Jan. 21 Silverbulletday Stakes winner
preparing for the March 31, $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (Gr. II), worked five
furlongs in 1:00 2/5 this morning with Napravnik up. The Proud Citizen filly
worked through splits of :12 1/5, :24 1/5, :37 4/5 and :48 4/5. She galloped
out six furlongs in 1:14 4/5.
“Rosie had Believe You Can right on the money,” Jones said. “We’re
in good shape and we’re really happy with all three of them.”