Mark Valeski pulls out of Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Trainer Larry Jones said Mark Valeski will not run in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, clearing the way for D. Wayne Lukas’ Optimizer to join the 20-horse field.

Jones said the horse that’s named for a friend of owner and former Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones wasn’t training well enough to win. Jones says he felt the bay colt was Derby quality, but he wouldn’t be ready for Saturday’s race.

Mark Valeski was 19th on the graded stakes earnings list with $260,000 and had finished second in both the Risen Star Stakes and the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

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