05/14/2012 3:00PM

Belmont: Preakness result will help Jones assess whether to run Mark Valeski in Belmont Stakes

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA

Race: Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont

Winner: Mark Valeski (96 Beyer)

Jockey: Rosie Napravnik

Trainer: Brereton Jones

Fast Fact: Mark Valeski has not finished lower than second in his last five races.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Mark Valeski, winner of Saturday’s Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont, arrived back at Churchill Downs early Monday morning and will train there while his connections decide whether or not to return for the $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 9.

Trainer Larry Jones said while he was happy with his colt’s 1 1/4-length victory over Right to Vote in the Peter Pan – which earned him a 96 Beyer Speed Figure – he would monitor this Saturday’s Preakness Stakes as well as other developments before sitting down with owner Brereton Jones and deciding what’s next.

“We’re going to see what happens there,” Jones said, referring to the Preakness, “and try to decide what to do. We were very happy with his race, and we’ll see how he gets over the trip, check all the figures and we’ll try to do what’s right for the horse.”

Jones said that Mark Valeski did come out of the Peter Pan in good order. Jones said of the horses he has brought down the Triple Crown trail, Mark Valeski was the best equipped to handle Belmont’s 1 1/2-mile distance.

“I think that this horse will get the distance as good or better than they did,” said Jones, whose only Belmont starter, Hard Spun, finished fourth.

While the Peter Pan is the traditional local prep for the Belmont Stakes, the last horse to win both races was A.P. Indy in 1992.

Since then, only Colonial Affair (1993) and Lemon Drop Kid (1999) have come out of the Peter Pan to win the Belmont. In 2010, the Peter Pan was replaced on the calendar by the Dwyer and Drosselmeyer ran second in it before winning the Belmont in a race that did not include the Kentucky Derby or Preakness winner.

Right to Vote, second in the Peter Pan after setting all the fractions, is not Triple Crown nominated. His next spot will likely be the Dwyer here on June 30.

Trainer Chad Brown indicated that Street Life, a late-running third in the Peter Pan, would come back in the Belmont.

Kentucky Derby third- and seventh-place finishers Dullahan and Union Rags are others pointing to the Belmont Stakes. Alpha, 12th in the Derby, is possible.

DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
Early in the year trainers and owners may be more judicious picking spots than fans would like knowing the season is long and arduous. Today's horses are lucky to make quality 5-6 quality starts in a year. I have no problem with trainers not going '" All in" in start 1 of the year like he chose to do with HDG. Mr. Jones's was thinking clearly in 2011 when he guided HDG to a championship. Also was thinking clearly winning two KY Oaks. Dismiss his intelligence at your own risk.
Bwell More than 1 year ago
HDG won the Woodward. WOW, what an accomplishment! YAWN Rachel or Zenyatta would've made her look like a N1X.
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
I agree the 2011 Woodward was not its best running. HDG overall was 15-8-4-2 for $2.2M. In 2011 she won the Azeri, Apple Blossom, Obeah, Woodward, and Beldame. In the Beldame she demolished BC winner Royal Delta by 8L. She ran the ultra-talented Blind Luck to a nose loss while spotting weight in the Delaware Handicap in arguably the most exciting race of the year. She received the HOY honors by outpolling her nearest rival by 6-1. Seems the respected Eclipse voters spoke loud and clear making her a dominant winner of HOY. I don’t dwell on hypothetical matchups (never can find a book that takes or pays off on those wagers) but Z was truly one for the ages and Rachel was undeniably brilliant.
Caballo Castillo More than 1 year ago
I don't know about being a deep thinker, I think he's just scared of better competition. He finds any excuse not to run in races that he could win. I believe that had he ran Havre de Grace she would still be in training and would prabably be campaigning for another championship season, but weights seem to discourage him.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
The man is a deep thinker ain't he.