Trainer Hopes to Make ‘Valid’ Point in Saturday’s $90,000 Eight Miles West

December 10, 2019

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Crossed Sabres Farm’s Valid looms as a solid favorite for Saturday’s $90,000 Eighth Miles West Stakes at Gulfstream Park West. If the 4-year-old gelding runs up to expectations in the two-turn mile for 3-year-olds and older, he could very well earn a trip to Southern California later this month.

“If he runs good here and everything goes well, we might run him in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Lochte in the Breeders’ Cup Mile,” trainer Marcus Vitali said. “Of course, I’ll have to talk it over with the owner and we’ll come up with a plan.”

The upcoming Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships will be held at Santa Anita, where the $1 million Dirt Mile (G1) will be run Oct. 31 and the $2 million Turf is scheduled for Nov. 1. Crossed Sabres Farm’s Lochte earned Grade 1 credentials by winning the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) last winter, but Valid has yet to race against Grade 1 company.

“He only got beat by Itsmyluckyday in the Salvatore Mile (G3) by a couple lengths, and it was a biased racetrack. We didn’t get the best of everything that day. Valid won the Monmouth Cup after that and Itsmyluckyday came back and won a Grade 1 (Woodward) at Saratoga,” Vitali said.

Valid is certainly bred to be a Grade 1 performer. A son of multiple Grade 1 winner Medaglia d’Oro, Valid is out of stakes winner Grand Prayer, dam of 2010 Ruffian Stakes (G1) winner Malibu Prayer. Purchased by Darley for $500,000 as a yearling, the Virginia-bred was bought last October for $115,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Fall Mixed and Horses of Racing Age Sale.

“He came to us in great shape. It was a blessing that we had the opportunity to purchase him,” said Vitali, who also entered Midnight Cello, a recent optional claiming allowance winner over a sloppy track, in Saturday’s stakes. “I think he fits my training style.”

Formerly trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Valid had won one of seven starts before joining Vitali’s stable in South Florida. He’s gone on to finish in the money in 10 of 11 starts since finishing fifth in a Gulfstream allowance last November in his first start for his new trainer. Among his five victories is a triumph in the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup on July 27.

Orlando Bocachica has been named to ride Valid, who is coming off a 1 ¾-length victory in an open allowance race over a sloppy track at Gulfstream Park on Sept. 11.

Csaba, who finished third behind Valid that day, is slated to clash again with the Vitali-trained favorite in the Eight Miles West.

“He’s doing as good as always. His last race was an aberration. I don’t think it was a good indication of him. I think that the rider moved prematurely in that race,” trainer Phil Gleaves said. “He’s in A-1 condition.”

Csaba has been a mainstay in South Florida stakes action for the past few years, amassing earnings of $680,690 while winning 13 races, including nine stakes wins. The son of Kitten’s Joy has been particularly successful at the Miami Gardens track, where he has won 10 of 14 starts.

“He obviously has an affinity for that course. Of course, a lot of that was opportunity because he used to be stabled there. The races were there, but certainly he seems to love that track,” said Gleaves, who is now stabled at Gulfstream Park.

One of those victories came in the Fred Hooper (G3) last December when he defeated Valid by 1 ¼ lengths.

Owned by Bruce Hollander and Cary Shapoff, Csaba won the Skip Trial Stakes at Gulfstream Park in July before turning in a disappointing fifth-place effort in the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga, where he hasn’t fared well with the exception of a second place finish in the 2012 Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2) on a sloppy track.

“He has run well up there, but in the mud,” said Gleaves, whose star will once again be ridden by Manoel Cruz. “The Saratoga experiment at Saratoga for Csaba is done. Since he’s come back, he’s doing super and, like I said, I think he had a big excuse in his last race.”

Decisive Moment, the richest entrant in the six-horse field with more than $900,000 in earnings, enters the Eight Miles West in winning form. The 6-year-old son of With Distinction posted a front-running victory in the $200,000 Presque Isle Downs Mile on Sept. 7. Willie Martinez has the return mount on Just for Fun Stables’ homebred star.

David Jacobson-trained Stormin Monarcho, who finished second in the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga three starts back, won a restricted stakes at Delaware Park in his most recent race. David Cohen, who had been sidelined several months due to an injury, has the mount aboard the 4-year-old gelded son of Monarchos.

Turco Bravo, a multiple stakes winner in Chile, is scheduled to make his U.S. debut in the Eight Miles West for trainer Angel Quiroz.

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