Crossed Sabres Farm's Valid drove his way to victory by 1 3/4 lengths in Saturday's Grade 3 Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The 6-year-old son of Medaglia d'Oro covered the 1 1/8 miles over a track labeled good in 1:48.42 for trainer Marcus Vitali.
“This horse is deserving,” said jockey Nik Juarez. “He's an iron horse. He does everything he can. For him to come back from that horrific thing that happened to him (stumbling and nearly falling in the Gulfstream Park Handicap), and come back as strong as ever, shows he's an awesome horse.”
In his last start in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, Valid was severely compromised in the stretch run when bumped by another rival and nearly dropped Juarez. Today, Juarez sent the multiple graded stakes winner straight to the front of the pack where he dueled outside longshot Enders Cat for the early lead through fractions of :24.49 and :48.34. Enders Cat retreated approaching the three-quarters pole as Valid extended his lead to nearly a length rounding the final turn.
Team Colors moved up between horses and attempted to mount his challenge at the top of the lane, but Valid simply kept rolling through the entire stretch, pouring on the class to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Team Colors settled for second, and Enders Cat re-rallied and finished third at odds of nearly 60-1.
“He's a great horse, shows up every time,” said Vitali. “I loved when it was raining out today—boosted my confidence immensely. He loves the wet, a little cool breeze, and everything went his way today. No trouble and a fair fight, and we won the fight. I said to (jockey Nik Juarez) be real close today, especially when it got wet. I told Nik to let the horse take him to where he wants to be. If he gets pressured you can take him back a little bit. I just didn't want to choke him down much. The horse showed up again today.”
Bred in Virginia by Edward P. Evans, Valid was a $500,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by John Ferguson, where he began his race career with Kiaran McLaughlin and Darley Stable. With one victory from seven starts, Valid was sold for $115,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Mixed Sale in late 2013. Since then, the son of stakes-winning mare Grand Prayer (Grand Slam) has won a total of four graded stakes races and been placed in another nine graded stakes. With a total record of 12 victories from 37 career starts, Valid has earnings of nearly $1.1 million.
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