01/16/2012 2:04PM

Fair Grounds: Bargain purchase looking ready for big step up in Lecomte

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Dustin Orona Photography
Ted's Folly, with Jose Medina riding, wins the Remington Springboard.

At the Heritage Horse Sale during November in Oklahoma City, a prospective purchaser of equines can bid on paints and Quarter Horses, cutting-horse prospects or barrel-racers. There are Thoroughbreds for sale there, too, and in the fall of 2010, owner Steve Martin and trainer Wilson Brown unearthed a little treasure. Martin, on Brown’s advice, gave $1,200 for Ted’s Folly, a son of the $2,000 stallion Wild Tale. Eight races into his career, Ted’s Folly has won six starts in a row while banking $335,491 for his Oklahoma-based connections.

Having conquered everything Remington Park threw at him, Ted’s Folly has taken his act to New Orleans, where he’s scheduled to be part of a large field Saturday in the Lecomte Stakes.

“Normally I don’t buy at that sale, but they had some Okie-bred yearlings there, and that’s what we went out there for,” said Brown, who has been buying, breaking, racing, and selling young Thoroughbreds for about four decades. “In this business, you don’t let anything slip through the cracks.”

Brown, who has turned cheap yearlings into six-figure 2- and 3-year-old sales in the past, will be trying to win the first graded stakes of his training career in the Lecomte. He just might have a shot. Ted’s Folly hasn’t tasted defeat since losing two early-season 2-year-old races at Prairie Meadows, and he cleared two hurdles in one race last month, moving from Oklahoma-bred wins and sprint races to the $315,000 Springboard Mile. Eleventh of 12 down the backstretch run of his route debut, Ted’s Folly made a big move on the far turn and wound up winning the Springboard by 1 1/2 lengths while drawing away at the finish.

“In my mind, I thought he would love two turns, but me thinking that and him doing it were two different things,” said Brown.

Stabled with Bobby Barnett at Fair Grounds, Ted’s Folly has logged three workouts on the main track. The first two were easy, but on Jan. 12, Ted’s Folly zipped five furlongs in 1:00.40. That worked suggests Ted’s Folly might be as comfortable at Fair Grounds as he was at Remington, and unlike most of his Lecomte opponents, Ted’s Folly has experience in bulky fields.

“I don’t care if there’s a full field,” Brown said. “It doesn’t bother him much. He waits till they’re all strung out before he starts making contact anyway.”

Jockey Jose Medina has ridden only one race at Fair Grounds, but he has ridden Ted’s Folly throughout the gelding’s six-race winning streak, and Brown will stick with him in Saturday’s one mile 70-yard race.

Mark Valeski eyes Risen Star

Trainer Larry Jones said he hopes to plot a path to the Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 25 for the 3-year-old colt Mark Valeski, an impressive allowance-race winner on Jan. 13.

In his career debut last July, Mark Valeski finished fourth behind Union Rags in a Delaware Park maiden sprint. In September, he won a Delaware maiden by more than four lengths over Ancient Rome, who won Gulfstream’s Spectacular Bid Stakes last month. Mark Valeski didn’t race again until Thursday, when he pushed past capable Radiant Talent in the stretch run to win a first-level sprint allowance by one length. His six-furlong time of 1:10.18 was among the best so far this meet.

“He looks like he might be okay,” Jones said. “We’re actually in a roundabout way going to try and get him ready for the Risen Star.”

Mark Valeski is by Proud Citizen and out of a Fortunate Prospect mare, a pedigree not obviously slanted toward stamina, but Jones believes Mark Valeski will stretch out.

“I think a route will be no problem,” he said. “We haven’t had any of the Proud Citizens that haven’t gone long. I don’t see Mark Valeski being any different.”