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Published on May 12, 2012
After a pair of narrow defeats in Kentucky Derby prep races this spring at Fair Grounds Race Course, Mark Valeski earned his first graded stakes win Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park when he captured the 58th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes, the local springboard to the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 9.
Caught wide out of the gate, Mark Valeski settled well off the rail in midpack as longshot Right to Vote swiftly guided the field through opening fractions of 22.71 and 45.35. Swung four wide turning for home, Mark Valeski was put to a drive through the stretch, wresting the lead away from the pacesetter just past the eighth pole and going on to a 1 ¼-length victory. A determined Right to Vote held sway over Street Life, who closed from last to get third.
Mark Valeski's final time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:48.31. Sent off as the 6-5 favorite in the field of 10, he returned $4.70.