Crossed Sabres Farm’s Valid won a thrilling three-horse finish in the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 7 at Gulfstream Park (VIDEO).
Battling at the start with Mosler , Valid got to the wire first under Paco Lopez, a neck ahead of 25-1 longshot Grande Shores, with the 8-5 favorite Race Day just another neck back in third.
“He’s unbelievable,” trainer Marcus Vitali said of Valid. “I had a great feeling coming into this race. We had a little time off after his last race. Excuse my voice, I’m a little hoarse. I rode him harder than Paco. I’m just very blessed training for the Crossed Sabres stables. I want to thank all my owners for giving me the opportunity. This is an amazing horse. He gets bigger and better by the day. I’m ecstatic.”
Both Grande Shores and Valid broke alertly and were noses apart through a fast half mile in :45.63 and six furlongs in 1:09.98. The two remained a team into the stretch before being joined late by Race Day. Valid prevailed in the final strides, running the mile in 1:36.35 over fast main track.
“They told me only one thing: ‘Paco, don’t hold the horse. When you hold the horse, you have more problems than not,'” Lopez said. “The break was good. I put him on the rail (and Grande Shores) showed a lot of speed. I never took up on the horse, and coming to the wire, the other horse came back, and I know (Race Day) was the big favorite, but I’m not sure what happened with him—whether he broke good or not—but my horse ran a great race. He’s a really nice horse. He’s always trying.”
The win improved Valid’s record to eight wins from 23 starts, while pushing his career earnings up to $495,697.
The 5-year-old Medaglia d'Oro
gelding is now 4-for-7 over Gulfstream Park’s main track.
Last year, Valid took the Monmouth Cup Stakes (gr. II) at Monmouth Park
and the Eight Miles West Stakes at Gulfstream Park West.
Valid returned $10.20, $5.40, and $3.20. Grande Shores paid $16 and $8, while Race Day returned $3.
Valid was bred in Virginia by Edward P. Evans from the Grand Slam
mare Grand Prayer