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Mar 23, 2012

Mark Valeski working towards Louisiana Derby


New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Risen Star Stakes runner-up Mark Valeski put in his first workout Tuesday morning at Fair Grounds Race Course since his narrow loss to El Padrino.

The colt, trained by Larry Jones, was timed in 59 2/5 seconds for five- furlongs with jockey Rosie Napravnik riding. The three-year-old galloped out six-furlongs in 1:13 3/5.

"It was a little quicker than what we had designed to go," Jones said. "I told her (Napravnik) 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."

Owned by former Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones, Mark Valeski lost the Risen Star by a nose to El Padrino who is set for the Florida Derby.

Mark Valeski pressed the pacesetter Hero of Order in the 1 1/16-mile stakes with El Padrino never far behind the leaders in third up the backstretch.

On the final turn Mark Valeski had a short lead with El Padrino moving into second and drawing even with the leader at the top of the stretch. The two battled through the stretch, banging against each other nearing the wire. El Padrino put his nose on the wire first.

Napravnik filed an objection against the winner claiming interference in the stretch. The stewards upheld the finish to give El Padrino his first career stakes victory.

"When I looked at him going into the last race I thought he was fat," Larry Jones said about his colt. "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 $1 million Louisiana Derby will go off on Sunday, April 1. Post positions will be drawn on Monday, March 26.

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