Shortly after 8:30 a.m. (CST) Monday, following the morning renovation break, the first of Larry Jones' two sophomore colts preparing for Saturday's Grade 2 Risen Star on Louisiana Derby Preview Day stepped onto the fast main track at Fair Grounds, accompanied by a workmate that will be uninvolved with the Risen Star.
Mark Valeski, a winner of his last two starts, worked in company with the maiden colt See Me Proud, and Mark Valeski, with Fair Grounds' leading jockey Rosie Napravnik in the irons, breezed five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 while the maiden gets the distance in 1:00 2/5.
Moments later Grade 3 Lecomte winner Mr. Bowling, with seven-time Fair Grounds riding champion Robby Albarado aboard, broke off working in company with the maiden colt Very Lucky, and got the five-eighths in :59 4/5 while the workmate did the distance in 1:00 2/5.
All four sophomores are owned by former Kentucky governor Brereton Jones.
After dismounting from Mark Valeski, jockey Napravnik got a leg up on Jones' Silverbulletday stakes heroine Believe You Can, supposedly working by herself in preparation for Saturday's Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra. Believe You Can went five furlongs in 1:00 3/5, but was engaged by a horse from another barn during the move. That unplanned development turns out to be a blessing in disguise, giving Napravnik the chance to see if Believe You Can is able to be rated behind rivals.
"That was perfect," said Napravnik to another rider as she pulled up Believe You Can. "I was so happy."
"Yeah, this morning we got tangled up in some other people's workers," Larry Jones said. "Believe You Can -- she wound up having a target to work at, so Rosie got to see a different side of her that she needed to see. Now she knows that the filly can be rated. As for Mark Valeski, Rosie really likes him. She has the confidence that she can take him anywhere she wants, and that this colt has more than one move in him.
"Robby (Albarado) said that (Mr. Bowling) is getting better every day. He was very happy with the way things went for him this morning."
Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity winner Shared Property, third in the Lecomte, also worked five furlongs Monday in 1:01 3/5 in advance of the Risen Star.
"He went great," said trainer Tom Amoss during the renovation break. "I was very pleased."
Another Risen Star hopeful, Lecomte runner-up Z Dager, breezed a half-mile in :50 3/5 trainer Steve Asmussen.