After turning in a swift breeze Oct. 12 at Palm Meadows Training Center, multiple graded stakes winner Valid convinced trainer Marcus Vitali he is deserving of a place in the starting gate for a run in the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I).
Vitali confirmed that he will indeed enter Valid, who most recently captured Gulfstream Park's seven-furlong Groomstick Stakes Sept. 26 and the Philip Iselin Stakes (gr. III) at Monmouth Park Aug. 30, in the $1 million Dirt Mile, a race Vitali had targeted last year with his charge following a win in the Eight Miles West Stakes but ultimately opted to bypass.
"He breezed awful fast," Vitali said of the five-furlong move, timed in 1:00.85 over the Palm Beach County oval. "He did everything right and came out of his last race really good. He's been training good, looking good, and I figured, there's no time like the present.
"I tried to get there last year, but I didn't quite think he was ready. I think he's getting a little better as he gets older, and we're going to take a shot at it."
Valid, a 5-year-old gelded son of Medaglia d'Oro , has won or placed in seven stakes this year for Crossed Sabres Farm, also winning the Fred W. Hooper Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream in February. The Virginia-bred also finished third in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) in March, won by Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) contender Honor Code , and hit the board in a trio of other black-type events this summer at Monmouth, including the Majestic Light, Salvator Mile (gr. III), and Monmouth Cup (gr. II), before winning the Iselin.
"He's amazing. He just likes to win races," Vitali said. "While he's in the mindset and I'm in the mindset and the owners are in the mindset, we might as well try it."
Vitali, who noted the two-turn mile distance at Keeneland "was another reason why we decided to go," said the majority of Valid's pre-race preparations have been completed, and he will keep things status quo until shipping to Lexington a week before championship weekend.
"I'll probably ship a week ahead of time, give him a couple days over the track there," he said. "I'm not going to do much with him now leading into the race—just try to keep him happy. I might give him a two-minute lick next weekend before I send him on his way. I think we've done enough with the drills. I think he knows what to do, and let's hope it all works out."