Valid looks to get back to the Monmouth Park winners circle a second time for a graded stakes win as he takes on five other older horses in Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Iselin Stakes going a mile and a sixteenth.
“He trained over the track well on Thursday and galloped on Friday,” said trainer Marcus Vitali, who conditions the horse for Crossed Sabres Farm. “He looks ready to go.”
Valid's work on August 25 came over the fast main track where he went four furlongs in :49, which was fourth fastest out of the 18 horses that went four furlongs on that day.
The 5-year-old gelding by Medaglia d'Oro out of the Grand Slam mare Grand Prayer has hit the board in each of his last four starts including his latest run in the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup on the Haskell undercard finishing second behind wire-to-wire winner Bradster, who won the Grade 3 Salvator Mile on United Nations Day.
“We plan on being closer to the lead this time,” said Vitali. “Last time, we weren't close enough to Bradster and he got away.”
Valid biggest success came in last year's Monmouth Cup where he beat out rival Bradster in a stretch duel to grab the victory by less than a length. He was also winner of the Grade 3 Fred W. Hooper Handicap at Gulfstream Park earlier this year.
Bradster isn't the only one Valid has to worry about in the Iselin. He will have to watch out for the winner of last year's Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes Albano, who finished second in last year's Haskell Invitational behind eventual Breeders' Cup Classic champion Bayern. He will also be challenged by a pair out of Todd Pletcher's barn in Anchor Down, who is trying stakes company for the first time, and Matterhorn, who has won two straight and was an entrant in last year's Belmont Stakes.
Nik Juarez will be aboard Valid for the first time in the Iselin, which will be race 10 on Sunday's 11-race card.
Gates open at 11:30 a.m., with first post at 12:50 p.m.
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