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Mar 30, 2012

Jones' entry heads 99th Louisiana Derby

By: SPORTS NETWORK


New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Risen Star Stakes runner-up Mark Valeski and stablemate Mr. Bowling are the 2-1 morning-line favorites for Sunday's 99th running of the $1 million Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Race Course.

Owned by former Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones, the pair of three-year-olds will race as an entry versus 12 challengers in the 1 1/8-mile prep for the Kentucky Derby. The two colts, both trained by Larry Jones, will start next to each other in the starting gate, Mr. Bowling in post seven with Robby Albarado riding and Mark Valeski and jockey Rosie Napravnik the next one over.

Mark Valeski is the stronger part of the entry off his second-place finish in the Risen Star by a nose to El Padrino. The colt, who pressed the pace last time out, has won half of his four career starts for $110,952.

"When I looked at him going into the last race I thought he was fat," Larry Jones said about Mark Valeski. "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."

Mr. Bowling was a disappointing 11th in the Risen Star after winning the track's Lecomte Stakes in January. The colt has earned $201,048 with three wins in six career starts.

Larry Jones won the 2009 Louisiana Derby with Friesan Fire.

The 7-2 second choice is the lightly raced Cigar Street from the stable of trainer Steve Margolis. Owned by Jake Ballis and NBA player Rashard Lewis, the colt will be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan from post five.

"We're good (for the Louisiana Derby)," said Margolis of the son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense shortly after Sunday's workout. "He pulled up good and everything is fine, now."

After finishing fifth in his career debut on Feb. 3, Cigar Street won decisively by 13 3/4-lengths at Fair Grounds on March 10.

Here is the complete Louisiana Derby field from the rail out: Fire Alarm, Miguel Mena, 20-1; Windsurfer, John Velazquez, 12-1; Finnegans Wake, Corey Lanerie, 15-1; Flashy Sunrise, Rajiv Maragh, 30-1; Cigar Street, Shaun Bridgmohan, 7-2; Shared Property, Leandro Goncalves, 10-1; Mr. Bowling, Robby Albarado, 2-1; Mark Valeski, Rosie Napravnik, 2-1; Arm Force, Julien Leparoux, 20-1; Comisky's Humor, Richard Eramia, 20-1; Z Dager, Shane Sellers, 8-1; Rousing Sermon, Mike Smith. 6-1; Hero Of Order, Eddie Martin Jr., 30-1 and Afford, James Graham, 15-1.

Sunday's post-time for the Derby is 5:55 p.m. (ET).



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