Valid holds Madefromlucky in Harlan’s Holiday

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Jen Caldwell

December 12th, 2015

Crossed Sabres Farm’s Valid had faced some top-notch runners in his 32-race career prior to going in Saturday’s $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday S. at Gulfstream Park, even running fifth most recently in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) behind Liam’s Map.

His fans took notice and sent the Marcus Vitali trainee off the clear 9-5 favorite despite a talent-laden group lining up in the Harlan’s Holiday.

In the end, Valid lived up to all expectations when running down the pacesetting Mr. Jordan and then holding off a late rally from Madefromlucky to score.

The five-year-old gelding bided his time just in behind Mr. Jordan as that one made his way up front through splits of :23.78, :46.70 and 1:10.82. Valid angled off his inside spot to circle the turn three wide before collaring Mr. Jordan at the furlong marker.

The dark bay had the finish line in his sights and a late charge from Madefromlucky was turned back as Valid finished three-quarters of a length in front of that rival. The Virginia-bred completed 1 1/16 miles on Gulfstream’s fast main track in 1:42.27 with jockey Javier Castellano aboard.

Madefromlucky was easily best-of-the-rest while three lengths in front of Mr. Jordan on the wire. Just Call, a 16-1 shot, managed to nose out Mexikoma to take fourth.

Valid earned his sixth stakes win in the Harlan’s Holiday and fourth victory from 12 starts this season. Earlier in the year the Medaglia d’Oro gelding triumphed in Fred W. Hooper S. (G3), Philip H. Iselin S. (G3) and Groomstick S. while placing in the Monmouth Cup (G2), Gulfstream Park H. (G2), Salvatore Mile (G3) and Majestic Light S. His career record now stands at 33-11-7-6, $833,577.

One race before the Harlan’s Holiday, Valor Ladies LLC’s Tuttipaesi scored a 1 1/4-length victory in the $100,000 South Beach S. with Chris DeCarlo in the irons.

The duo bided their time near the rear of the 10-strong field as Celebrity Star led the way through the opening half-mile. Tuttipaesi found herself six wide on the final turn but that didn’t stop the Irish-bred daughter of Clodovil from taking command and getting the win while completing 7 1/2 furlongs on the good turf in 1:31.58.

Trained by Bill Mott, Tuttipaesi entered the South Beach off an easy 3 1/4-length wire job in the Suffolk Downs Distaff Turf S. on October 3

A thrilling edition of the $100,000 El Prado S. wrapped up Gulfstream’s Saturday stakes action.

Reporting Star battled with Aztec Brave throughout the stretch of the 7 1/2-furlong grass affair, and just got his head down in time for trainer Pat Parente.

Aztec Brave came into the El Prado boasting a 3-2-2 mark from seven starts this season, and was sent off the 1.80-1 favorite over Reporting Star’s 1.90-1 odds. The bay gelding lacked running room rounding the turn and found a wall of horses blocking his way upon hitting the stretch.

A small gap appeared and Aztec Brave muscled his way through in the lane, but Reporting Star was keeping pace on the outside. The pair duked it out in the stretch, exchanging both bumps and the lead, before Reporting Star got the head-bobbing victory in 1:31.29 under jockey Miguel Vazquez.

Valid, Tuttipaesi and Reporting Star photos courtesy of Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography


Trainer Marcus Vitali (Valid): “He’s a good horse. He’s back at home. He likes it here. We knew there was some speed in there. I told (jockey) Javier (Castellano) just be light in the mouth and keep him close. Javier decided to let two or three horses go and when it was time, he asked and as usual Valid responded.

“He was doing really good, and the Breeders’ Cup I don’t think took a lot out of him. He’s a class horse and good horses make good trainers. He’s been holding up really good and training good. I thank Crossed Sabres for the opportunity again. They’ve been very generous and trusting in me and that’s why I’m here.”

(On changing riders): "I just had some thoughts as a trainer. I was mulling some things around in my head. I had talked to (program jockey) Matt (Rispoli) yesterday or the day before. Nothing personal, it was a business decision. He’s a great kid and he still rides for me, and we move forward.

“We’ll see how (Valid) comes back and see what he tells me and we’ll decide something soon. He likes to be a racehorse. He loves his job. You see him out there in the post parade, he was happy. He loves to train. He’s got his quirks but when you put him in the gate he knows what time it is. He knows what he wants to do.”

Jockey Javier Castellano (Valid): “It was a good setup. A lot of horses went to the lead. My horse wanted to go to the lead too. I had to take him back a little bit and the race set up perfect. I waited for my time behind horses and got the jump on Madefromlucky. That was the horse we had to beat. It worked out great.

“One thing I want to say. It’s a business. I feel bad for the other rider, but I was open in the race. They were looking to make a change and I was lucky to be able to ride the horse.”

Jockey John Velazquez (Madefromlucky): "Perfect trip. The other horse (Valid) got the better trip inside. I had to go around."

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. (Mr. Jordan): "Thought he ran well off the long layoff. It wasn't the preferred race. We wanted to go one turn off the layoff, but this is what was available and I think this will serve as a building block."