HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Cross Sabres Farm’s Valid went into Saturday’s $150,000 Skip Away Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park as the class of the field and backed up that assertion with a 1¾-length gate-to-wire victory.
Breaking alertly, the 6-year-old dark bay gelding set a methodical pace under regular rider Nik Juarez through fractions of 24.49, 48.34 and 1:12.44 for six furlongs before turning for home in the 1 1/8-miles race with a comfortable advantage over Joseph Allen’s Jimmy Jerkins-trained 4-1 second choice Team Colors under John Velazquez. Passing the mile marker in 1:36.19, the Marcus Vitali trainee held that rival at bay throughout the stretch to win. It was another 3½ lengths back to Kateryna Kappusheva’s Mikhail Yanakov-trained Enders Cat in third under John Cruz.
As the 2-5 favorite, Valid returned 2.80, 2.10 and 2.10. Team Colors returned $3 and $2.60, while 60-1 longshot Enders Cat returned $7.60.
The Skip Away order of finish was completed by Savoy Stomp, Hesinfront and Rich Daddy.
Trainer Marcus Vitali (Valid): “He’s a great horse, shows up every time. 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.”
Jockey Nik Juarez (Valid): “This horse is deserving. 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.”
Source: Gulfstream Park