Valid Seeks Smoother Trip In G3 Skip Away Stakes

by | 03.30.2016 | 6:10pm
Mshawish (left) and Valid battle to the wire in the G3 Hal's Hope

The $150,000 Grade 3 Skip Away Stakes features a clash of talented older horses going 1 1/8 miles over Gulfstream Park's main track. Named for ten-time G1 winner and three-time Eclipse Award winner Skip Away, its previous winners include G1 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Fort Larned and South African Horse of the Year Horse Chestnut. This year's renewal drew a compact but well-matched sextet.

Crossed Sabres Farm classy multiple stakes winner Valid looks to return to his winning ways for trainer Marcus Vitali. The 6-year-old gelded son of Medaglia d'Oro has been in the exacta in 10 of 15 Gulfstream starts, including a sharp victory in December in the 1 1/16-miles Listed $100,000 Harlan's Holiday Stakes, and gets a bit of class relief after finishing a tough-luck fourth and being elevated to third via disqualification last out in the G2 $500,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap over a flat mile.

“He's definitely moving forward,” Vitali said. “He came out of the Donn OK; just a few bumps and bruises, of course. It is what it is and he's okay for Saturday. We've entered him and we'll play it up until we get to the race.

“I think he's effective anywhere from a mile to a mile and an eighth,” Vitali continued. “He's been going strong for a while now, so he's due for a breather soon. Just like when we gave Lochte a couple months, we hope he'll do well with some time off after this.”

A game second two back in the G1 Donn Handicap  over this course and distance, the Virginia-bred millionaire ran arguably the best race of his life at this nine-furlong trip last August when taking the G3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park by 3½ lengths. Regular rider Nik Juarez rides from post five.

What Joseph Allen's Team Colors lacks in experience and credentials, he may make up for in pedigree and potential. A good-looking son of deceased top sire Street Cry out of multiple graded stakes winner Teammate – a half-sister to stellar stallion War Front – the three-time winner from 10 starts will try to emulate his G2 Bonnie Miss-winning (now Gulfstream Park Oaks) dam and take a graded stakes over nine furlongs at the Hallandale oval.

A winner in the Gulfstream mud last out going 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 17, the promising 4-year-old colt has yet to attempt a dry dirt surface on race day for trainer Jimmy Jerkins after commencing his career with four starts in France on synthetics and turf and then racing on Stateside grass in his first five domestic tries. The consistent type has finished off the board just once and breaks from the rail post under Hall of Famer John Velazquez.

Winds of Change Racing Stable's Rich Daddy has progressed from starter races to stakes competition over the last year and done so while winning four of his last six for trainer Victor Barboza, Jr. The 5-year-old gelded son of The Daddy, Rich Daddy must step up once more after taking last month's restricted $50,000 Rough And Ready Stakes when Emisael Jaramillo takes the reins from post two.

The remainder of the field for the G3 $150,000 Skip Away is comprised of Enders Cat (Jose Caraballo, post three), Hesinfront (Tyler Gaffalione, post four) and Savoy Stomp (Javier Castellano, post six).

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