05/12/2012 5:40PM

Belmont Park: Mark Valeski wins Peter Pan a week after passing on Kentucky Derby

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Mark Valeski wins the Peter Pan under Rosie Napravnik. He will now be considered for the Belmont Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Owner Brereton Jones and trainer Larry Jones were rewarded for their decision to skip last week’s Kentucky Derby when Mark Valeski rallied to win Saturday’s Grade 2 Peter Pan at Belmont Park in a solid, albeit not spectacular performance.

Despite racing wide throughout under Rosie Napravnik, Mark Valeski surged past the pacesetting 47-1 longshot Right to Vote at the eighth pole and persevered to the wire to beat that horse by 1 1/4 lengths. It was one-half length back to Street Life in third.

Good Morning Diva, Big Screen, The Lumber Guy, Hakama, Summer Front, Master Rick and Le Bernardin completed the order of finish. Teeth of the Dog and Zetterholm were scratched in favor of running in next Saturday’s Preakness.

The unrelated Joneses decided to skip the Derby after Mark Valeski - the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby runner-up at Fair Grounds - failed to wow them in his final work before the Derby.

The extra week, the smaller field, and the lesser competition all served Mark Valeski well in the Peter Pan.

After breaking with the pack, Mark Valeski was taken about five lengths off the pace by Napravnik as Right to Vote, under Alex Solis, carved out fractions of 22.71 seconds for the quarter and 45.35 for the half-mile.

After three-quarters were run in 1:09.52, Mark Valeski advanced four wide around the far turn and moved into second straightening away into the stretch. Mark Valeski collared Right to Vote mid-stretch and edged away from him late. Right to Vote held off Street Life, who rallied from last to be third under Jose Lezcano.

Mark Valeski covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.31 and returned $4.70 as the 6-5 favorite.

Napravnik said she kept her horse wide on purpose.

“I didn’t want to tuck in behind them and get stuck because I felt like I was on the best horse,” Napravnik said. “But we did lose a lot of ground, which shows how good he is.”

Larry Jones said he saw the type of performance he thought he would get from Mark Valeski, a son of Proud Citizen who now has three wins from six starts.

“We just needed a real good race in him to see where we sat and where to go and he answered the questions like we thought he should and like we thought he could,” Jones said. “We’re very happy with his performance today.”

Jones planned to take Mark Valeski back to his summer base of Churchill Downs and watch how the Preakness unfolds before deciding whether to run back in the $1 million Belmont Stakes here on June 9.

“We’re sure going to look at it because it sure looked like he handled this track well,” Jones said. “Slowing the fractions down a little bit he’s going to carry his speed a lot farther. He’ll probably be a forward factor in the Belmont, especially if Bodemeister and them rip each other apart in the Preakness. We’re sure not going to rule it out; we know where Belmont is.”

Right to Vote isn’t nominated to the Triple Crown so he will not start in the Belmont Stakes. A race like the Dwyer here on June 30 is more likely.

Chad Brown, the trainer of Street Life, said he was very happy with the way his horse finished and that he would take a strong look at the Belmont Stakes.

“He looks like a horse looking to run a route of ground,” Brown said. “It’s a rare opportunity to run that far on dirt. If the horse is doing well, I’d definitely take a look at the Belmont.”

MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
There is your Belmont winner....STREET LIFE!!!!
David More than 1 year ago
All these people try to put their expert opinions in and it cracks me up LOL If I ever make it to the game I want Larry training my horse
David More than 1 year ago
I had a running gag goin for the last month or so asking poeple if they knew Mark Valeski and when they said no .............and I said YOU WILL LOL Thanks Rosie Believe YOU Can baby :)
David More than 1 year ago
a win is a win and you pick your spots
Grazyna Mianska More than 1 year ago
All three of your comments very well put. Total agreement with you. I call it money management.
avlamal More than 1 year ago
the drf editorial policies would put u in lock up if u were in china drf- pravda lives bring back the nazi peoples court u people ought to be ashamed of yourselves for your censureship shame on you what r u afraid of
avlamal More than 1 year ago
they should shorten this horse up in woodie stephens-7f with his speed and stamina now built up in this last race he will be really tough
OwenJ More than 1 year ago
Indications are that Creative Cause could run a much better race in the Preakness. He was poorly ridden in the Derby and ran wide throughout much of the ten-furlong journey. If he repeats his Santa Anita Derby form he could actually beat I'll Have Another. My Early tri at $20 per bet: CC on top of Bode, IHA and Dullaham. Then another Trti at $10 per bet CC second.
OwenJ More than 1 year ago
Long before the Derby I predicted that neither Hansen, Union Rags nor Bodemeister would win the Derby. The first two just do not stay the trip in good company and Bodemeister lacked solid two-year-old conditioning. No matter that Baffert worked him 26 times as a two-year-old. There appears to be no substitute to running your 2-year-olds in actual races with medium to large fields. History has proven this.
OwenJ More than 1 year ago
Shrewd Owner/Trainer combo Jones squared (lol!) They beat a third rate field but guess what? They are making a nice return on their investment in Mark Valeski - a horse which is below classic standard at this time. More owners/trainers should learn to be less emotional and place their animals properly! This horse can pick up a couple more graded races while Bode and the others knock themselves out.
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
I like the way Street Life finished - he was just warming up and he looks every bit like he could get 1.5 miles.
Phil D More than 1 year ago
Me too, wondering if he will be in the Belmont Stakes, the distance will be right up his ally, maybe an upset glance at a big price
Vin More than 1 year ago
late runners like street life rarely win Belmonts .His close looked good because of the fast fast pace and collapse of most of the field