MIAMI GARDENS, FL â€“ Crossed Sabres Farmâ€™s Valid looms as a solid favorite for Saturdayâ€™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.
â€œIf he runs good here and everything goes well, we might run him in the Breedersâ€™ Cup Dirt Mile and Lochte in the Breedersâ€™ Cup Mile,â€ trainer Marcus Vitali said. â€œOf course, Iâ€™ll have to talk it over with the owner and weâ€™ll come up with a plan.â€
The upcoming Breedersâ€™ 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 Farmâ€™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.
â€œHe only got beat by Itsmyluckyday in the Salvatore Mile (G3) by a couple lengths, and it was a biased racetrack. We didnâ€™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,â€ Vitali said.
Valid is certainly bred to be a Grade 1 performer. A son of multiple Grade 1 winner Medaglia dâ€™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.
â€œHe came to us in great shape. It was a blessing that we had the opportunity to purchase him,â€ said Vitali, who also entered Midnight Cello, a recent optional claiming allowance winner over a sloppy track, in Saturdayâ€™s stakes. â€œI think he fits my training style.â€
Formerly trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Valid had won one of seven starts before joining Vitaliâ€™s stable in South Florida. Heâ€™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 Â¾-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.
â€œHeâ€™s doing as good as always. His last race was an aberration. I donâ€™t think it was a good indication of him. I think that the rider moved prematurely in that race,â€ trainer Phil Gleaves said. â€œHeâ€™s in A-1 condition.â€
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 Kittenâ€™s Joy has been particularly successful at the Miami Gardens track, where he has won 10 of 14 starts.
â€œHe 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,â€ 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 Â¼ 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 hasnâ€™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.
â€œHe has run well up there, but in the mud,â€ said Gleaves, whose star will once again be ridden by Manoel Cruz. â€œThe Saratoga experiment at Saratoga for Csaba is done. Since heâ€™s come back, heâ€™s doing super and, like I said, I think he had a big excuse in his last race.â€
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 Stablesâ€™ 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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