02/14/2012 3:16PM

Fair Grounds: Jones pointing both Mark Valeski, Mr. Bowling to Risen Star

Lynn Roberts
Mr. Bowling wins the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds. He will make his next start in the Risen Star.

Larry Jones is dealing with an issue right now any trainer would gladly take on: Figuring out how to spot multiple stakes horses in the same division.

One decision already has been made. Instead of shipping Mark Valeski to Oaklawn Park for his stakes and two-turn debut in the Southwest Stakes this weekend, Jones has opted to keep the colt home at Fair Grounds and run in the Risen Star. That means Jones will have two starters in the race, with Lecomte Stakes winner Mr. Bowling also slated to run. Robby Albarado retains the mount on Mr. Bowling, while Rosie Napravnik, Jones said, picks up the ride on Mark Valeski.

“If I knew that one of those two was way better than the other one, I wouldn’t run them together,” Jones said. “This is one way of determining what we want to do with them later on.”

Napravnik was aboard Mark Valeski on Monday morning for a bullet six-furlong workout in 1:12.60. A colt by Proud Citizen, Mark Valeski finished fourth in his career debut last summer at Delaware Park in a race won by early Kentucky Derby favorite Union Rags. Mark Valeski then beat subsequent stakes winner Ancient Rome by more than four lengths in a Delaware maiden race and handled Radiant Talent, one of the better-looking maiden winners of the Fair Grounds meet, by one length in a Jan. 13 sprint allowance in New Orleans.

Mr. Bowling (whose Beyer Speed Figure for his narrow Lecomte win has been raised from 79 to 82) had his first workout since the Jan. 21 Lecomte on Monday, going five furlongs in 1:01.20. Believe You Can, on target for the Feb. 25 Rachel Alexandra, zipped the same distance in 1:00.80 in her first work since winning the Jan. 21 Silverbulletday Stakes.

Meanwhile, Jones said no decision has been reached on how to separate his two older-female, dirt-route stakes runners, Joyful Victory and Havre de Grace. Joyful Victory scored a good-looking win Saturday in the $75,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes, turning back a challenge from the solid graded-stakes mare Ravi’s Song to win for the first time in about 10 months.

“It was a good race for her, a good race to be building on,” Jones said. “You could tell she was a little tired out of this, but she’s real happy and doing good right now.”

Joyful Victory could come back in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes at Fair Grounds or make her next start in the Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn. Plans for her will be affected by Havre de Grace, who is possible for both those races as well as the New Orleans Handicap. Havre de Grace had her first timed workout of 2012 last week, but Jones believes she’ll be ready for a start by the March 17 New Orleans Ladies.

“She’ll be working every five or six days, depending on the weather,” Jones said. “She’ll get ready fast.”