Mark Valeski

Mark Valeski

Reed Palmer Photography, Churchill Downs

Mark Valeski Works Sharp 5 Furlongs for Derby

Works also turned in by Optimizer, Isn't He Clever, and Trinniberg.

Brereton Jones’ Mark Valeski , runner-up in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), drilled five furlongs in :59 3/5 at Churchill Downs April 23 for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Trained by Larry Jones, the son of Proud Citizen worked in company with Hamiltonian, rattling off fractions of :12 3/5, :24 1/5, :36, and :47 1/5. He was a length in front at the wire, then galloped out six furlongs in 1:14 3/5.


Mark Valeski burst on the Derby scene when he was beaten a nose by El Padrino  in the Risen Star in his first start around two turns. Sent off as the 3-2 favorite as part of an entry with Mr. Bowling in the Louisiana Derby, he was upset by mega-longshot Hero of Order after losing a shoe prior to or early in the race.


He will be ridden in the Derby by Rosie Napravnik, who was aboard in his last two starts.


Also working at Churchill Monday was the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Optimizer , who currently would be on the also-eligible list after failing to pick up any purse money in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I). Despite his ninth-place finish, the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) runner-up, still is pointing for the Derby by Lukas and owner Bluegrass Hall.


Optimizer, a son of English Channel , worked a half in :48 3/5 after fractions of :12, :24 1/5, and :36 3/5. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:02 2/5.


Steve Asmussen, who recently took over the training of Borderland Derby winner Isn't He Clever, sent the son of Smarty Jones  out for a half-mile breeze in :51 3/5. Like Optimizer, Isn’t He Clever would have to come in off the also-eligible if a decision is made to point for the Derby


At Calder Monday, Swale (gr. III) and Bay Shore (gr. III) winner Trinniberg , a late addition to to the Derby field, worked five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 with jockey Jose Alvarez up. He went in fractions of :25 4/5, :38 3/5, and :50 3/5, galloping out six panels in 1:15 2/5.