HENDERSON, Ky.—As he studied Hip No. 3741 at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling sale, Greg Foley recalls he couldn’t really find anything not to like where the son of Mark Valeski was concerned. Hence, the veteran trainer found himself pleasantly surprised when he got to bidding and discovered he was about the only person on the sales grounds who wanted to take a chance on the athletic-looking youngster.
“I had a full brother to him that I still have, On Your Mark, who was a good horse so….that’s what made me go look at him,” Foley said the bay yearling he only had to pay $1,700 for. “I looked at him and he was a nice-looking horse: sound, clean, his x-ray sheet was perfect. It wasn’t like he was some ugly duckling that flowered out. He was a nice horse. But he kind of got overlooked and I about had him given away to me, really.”
Now known to the racing community as B D Valeski, the 3-year-old has already given his conditioner a solid return on his investment by racking up earnings of more than $72,000 in his six starts to date. He can make his trainer look all the most astute this weekend when the gelding attempts to earn his first career stakes victory in the $70,000 Dade Park Dash Overnight Stakes over the Ellis Park turf on July 10.
Owned by the Foley family’s Tagg Team Racing in partnership with Brad Cain, Steve Vanovich, and Steve Andriot, B D Valeski comes into the 5 1/2-furlong Dade Park Dash as the deserved 8-5 morning-line favorite in the six-horse lineup. He broke his maiden over that distance on the Fair Grounds turf on March 10, drawing off to a 7 3/4-length romp in what was his fourth career start.
In his first try against stakes company, B D Valeski finished second in the William Walker going 5 1/2-furlongs over the Churchill Downs turf and was only bested that day by multiple stakes winner Big Invasion, who went on to handily capture the $100,000 Paradise Creek at Belmont Park on May 29. Though he was third last time out in an allowance race at Churchill on June 5, B D Valeski was again beaten by a proven multiple stakes winner in Nobals.
“Since he broke his maiden, he’s done nothing wrong,” Foley said of his charge. “We took a shot in the stakes on Derby Day and he ran great, running second to a very good horse. He again ran a really nice race when we ran him back last time – he actually ran pretty green. (Jockey) James (Graham) hit him with the stick and he drifted out down the stretch. But I feel like we’re sitting in a good spot-on Sunday.”
Bred by Brereton Jones, B D Valeski will have Graham back in the irons when he breaks from post No. 4 in the Dade Park Dash.
“He’s a good-looking horse and I think he’s going to do nothing but improve,” Foley said. “He’s ready to go.”
Among the top contenders B D Valeski is set to face Sunday is graded stakes winner Call Me Midnight. Call Me Midnight captured the Lecomte Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds on Jan. 22, upsetting eventual Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Epicenter, but the son of Midnight Lute has lost his last three starts and will be trying the turf for the first time.
The Steve Asmussen-trained All in Sync is another who will be testing their form on the grass for the first time though the son of Maclean’s Music did finish second in the Woodstock Stakes over the all-weather surface at Woodbine on May 1.
Circle Back Jack, the 3-1 third choice on the morning line, also owns a win over a synthetic surface having broken his maiden going six furlongs at Turfway Park on March 12.
Ellis Park Press Release
Photo credit: Coady Photography