Trainer Larry Jones did not commit to a potential start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) for Brereton C. Jones’ homebred Mark Valeski after the colt breezed five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 at Churchill Downs April 30.
“I’m not going to guarantee that we’re in or out,” Jones said. “Tomorrow will tell more and I’ll know really Wednesday morning when I get on him, especially if he tries to buck me off coming off that track, that he ought to be there.”
The runner-up in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) worked alone under retired jockey Larry Melancon, turning in splits of :11 3/5, :23 2/5, :35 1/5, :47 3/5 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:14 3/5.
“He worked fine, that’s a typical Mark Valeski work,” Larry Jones said. “I think he’s beat a minute one time in his life without having somebody (another horse working with him) to prompt him to do it.
That’s just kind of him. Larry (Melancon) said he just kind of got to looking around coming down the lane and it was either call on him and ask him hard or let him finish up the way he did. We know what kind of horse he is; we’re not really that concerned about it.”
A homebred son of Proud Citizen--Pocho’s Dream Girl, by Fortunate Prospect, Mark Valeski has two wins and two seconds from five starts and earnings of $310,952. Earlier in the year he put himself in the Derby picture with a nose loss to El Padrino in the Risen Star, his first start around two turns. He was sent off as the 3-2 favorite with entrymate Mr. Bowling in the Louisiana Derby, but was upset by 109-1 shot Hero of Order after losing a shoe prior to or early in the race.
Rosie Napravnik, who was aboard in his last two starts, has the Derby call.