In four career starts, El Padrino has established an impressive racing record – he has two first-place finishes, one second- and third-place finish. El Padrino has never lost by more than three-quarters of a length and his worst effort was a third-place finish in the Remsen Stakes (G2) last November at Aqueduct.
His win margin for the two races he’s won is a combined 14¾-lengths – both on sloppy tracks – and in his 3-year-old debut last month at Gulfstream Park, El Padrino scored a 2-length win in an 8½-furlong optional claiming race.
That performance earned El Padrino a whopping 111 Brisnet Speed Figure which is the highest of any 3-year-old on the Derby trail and he looms as the colt to beat in today’s race.
Trainer Larry Jones will send the coupled entry of Mr. Bowling and Mark Valeski to the starting gate as the 4-1 morning line second-choice. With a third-place finish in the Iroquois Stakes, a win in the Dover Stakes and Lecomte Stakes (G3), Mr. Bowling is the more accomplished of the two.
Mark Valeski has two wins in three career starts, he’s never run in a route race and he’s taking a big step up to graded-stakes competition. However, Jones must have a lot of faith in this young colt and high percentage jockey Anna Napravniks picks up the mount for today’s race.
The pedigree of Mark Valeski indicates that he should be able to handle the jump in class and stretch out to route racing.
Proud Citizen, the sire of Mark Valeksi, won the Lexington Coolmore Stakes (G2) en route to a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Fortunate Prospect, the damsire of Mark Valeski, is also the damsire of Musket Man who proved to be a good middle-distance runner that finished third in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1).
The tail-female line (family A1) of Mark Valeski also has some good influence. Silver Fog, the fourth dam of Mark Valeski, was the fourth dam of Kentucky Derby winner Gato Del Sol and the line traces to Ballet who was the ancestress of the classic champions Exterminator and Regret.
Shared Property (6-1) is a young colt I liked in the Lecomte Stakes where he finished third – a half-length behind Mr. Bowling. Shared Property traveled wide the entire race and I look for him to run better in the second start of his 3-year-old season.
Scat Daddy, the sire of Shared Property, was a precocious 2-year-old colt that won the Champagne Stakes (G1) and Sanford Stakes (G2). As a 3-year-old, Scat Daddy won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and Florida Derby (G1).
Belong To Me, the damsire of Shared Property, was a multiple graded stakes winning sprinter but at stud he sired some notable middle-distance runners such as Forever Together who was a multiple graded-stakes winner with over $2.9 million in career earnings. Belong To Me is also the damsire of Circular Quay, winner of the 2007 Louisiana Derby.
A long shot I like is Afford (8-1) who comes into the race off of a narrow win in his 3-year-old debut at the Fair Grounds. He’s never been out of the money in four starts and with the Kentucky Derby winners Street Sense as his sire and Unbridled as the damsire, Afford has the breeding to be a factor and I look for him to be competitive.