Alpha and Mark Valeski head the list of those leaning toward a run in the Grade II Louisiana Derby.
Before winning the Grade III Withers in his most recent start, Alpha captured Aqueduct’s $150,000 Count Fleet Stakes on Jan.7. Alpha, trained by Kiaran McGlaughlin, breezed five furlongs last Saturday at Palm Meadows in 1:01.00.
Mark Valeski, who finished second by a nose in the Grade II Risen Star, will shoulder the favorite’s mantle among the locally-based contenders. Trained by Larry Jones, Mark Valeski breezed five furlongs in :59.40 at Fair Grounds Tuesday.
Z Dager finished second in this year’s Lecomte and third in the Risen Star. Conditioned by Steve Asmussen, Fair Grounds’ 10-time leading trainer, Z Dager breezed six furlongs Monday morning at Fair Grounds in 1:13.00.
Others likely for the 2012 Louisiana Derby:
--Afford, sixth in the Risen Star after a troubled trip;
--Comisky’s Humor, a winner of his last two by a combined total of 18 lengths;
--Discreet Dancer, third behind Union Rags in Gulfstream Park’s Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes Feb. 26.
--Finnegans Wake, third behind Hansen in the Grade III Gotham on March 3 after a tardy break;
--Fire Alarm, winner of his last start at Fair Grounds on March 2;
--Hero of Order, fourth in the Risen Star and fifth in the Lecomte.
Mr. Bowling, another Larry Jones trainee, is now said to be merely possible.
The $1 million Louisiana Derby is set for April 1.
--Edited Fair Grounds release