2012 Louisiana Derby brings 14 to Fairgrounds

2012 Louisiana Derby Post Draw

2012 Louisiana Derby Post Draw

Sunday, April 1 brings us another 2012 Kentucky Derby prep race. We again ask – who will make it to the 2012 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs? The winner of this race will definitely have enough money, so many Kentucky Derby horses dreams could change. Who will Kentucky Derby Tours participants see in Louisville on May 5?

Most bettors are likely to settle on Mark Valeski as the likely winner of the Louisiana Derby. Mark Valeski, a Proud Citizen colt bred and owned by Brereton Jones, ran a fast 1 1/16 miles when narrowly beaten by El Padrino (who ran fourth in the Florida Derby on March 31). Mark Valeski’s trainer, Larry Jones, said he believes Mark Valeski wasn’t at peak fitness for the Risen Star. Jones, who daily gallops Mark Valeski, and jockey Rosie Napravnik, who works him, both have proclaimed Mark Valeski’s recent morning exercise superior to what he produced earlier this winter.

“Hopefully, we’re getting lucky and he’s getting good at the right time,” Larry Jones said earlier this week.

“I’ve been trying to put those strong Friesan Fire-type gallops into him. We’re looking at getting him ready to go the mile-and-a-quarter,” Jones said, referring to the Kentucky Derby’s distance.

Mark Valeski raced just off the pace in the Risen Star but could be farther behind early in Sunday’s race. Hero of Order, the Risen Star pacesetter, is entered, as is stretch out sprinter Comisky’s Humor, who set a five-furlong track record earlier this meet.

Cigar Street, the 7-2 morning-line second-choice, might be positioned close to Mark Valeski – and might be his equal in raw ability. Cigar Street stretched out around two turns on March 10, a performance so powerful that his connections are stepping straight into graded stakes competition.“He did win easy, he did come out of that last work well, and his head’s in the feed tub,” said trainer Steve Margolis, who trains Cigar Street for owners Jake Ballis and Rashard Lewis, the NBA veteran. “All systems are go, but you’ve got to step up and run against seasoned horses now.”

Z Dager is an improving horse, but trainer Steve Asmussen isn’t certain Z Dager can leapfrog a horse like Mark Valeski.

“He is going to make a significant move forward, but saying that, watching Mark Valeski work with Havre de Grace makes me believe in him, and the maiden win [by Cigar Street] was incredible,” Asmussen said. “When you’re drawn in [post] 11 you’re putting a little faith in there, as well. But he has trained better all winter long.”

Mr. Bowling, coupled with Mark Valeski, won the Lecomte Stakes but finished last of 11 in the Risen Star. Larry Jones, who trains him as well, expects a much improved performance Sunday.

California invader Rousing Sermon almost won the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity last winter, but has been less impressive on dirt than synthetic tracks, and is drawn very wide.

Shared Property was third in the Lecomte and fifth in the Risen Star, but draws a better post on Sunday and will be fitted with blinkers in an attempt to keep him closer to the pace on a dirt surface that might favor front-runners.

“I think the jury is still out on him and all these horses,” said trainer Tom Amoss. “Someone is going to emerge from this race as a real Derby contender. But it’s hard to say who that is.”

Louisiana Derby
1 Mr. Bowling J. Jones R. Albarado 2-1
1A Mark Valeski J. Jones R. Napravnik 2-1
2 Fire Alarm M. Mena W. Calhoun 20-1
3 Windsurfer T. Pletcher J. Velazquez 12-1
4 Finnegans Wake D. Romans C. Lanerie 15-1
5 Flashy Sunrise D. Stewart R. Maragh 30-1
6 Cigar Street S. Margolis S. Bridgemohan 7-2
7 Shared Property T. Amoss L. Goncalves 10-1
8 Arm Force E. Harty J. Leparoux 20-1
9 Comisky’s Humor R. Faucheux R. Eramia 10-1
10 Z Dager S. Asmussen S. Sellers 8-1
11 Rousing Sermon J. Hollendorfer M. Smith 6-1
12 Hero of Order G. Dorochenko E. Martin, Jr. 30-1
13 Afford J. Geier J. Graham 15-1