10/11/2014 4:57PM

Valid leads Vitali one-two sweep in Eight Miles West

Lauren King/Coglianese Photos
Valid holds off stablemate Midnight Cello to win the Eight Miles West and perhaps earn a spot in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

MIAMI - Valid led a one-two finish for trainer Marcus Vitali and may have earned himself a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile by outgaming Midnight Cello by a half-length to capture Saturday’s $90,000 Eight Miles West Stakes at Gulfstream Park West.

Valid rated off the early pace set by Decisive Moment in the one-mile Eight Miles West, rallied through a narrow opening inside the tiring leader near the eighth pole, then outfinished Midnight Cello under Orlando Bocachica. Midnight Cello, a last-minute entry in the Eight Miles West, looped four wide with his bid into the stretch, joined the leaders nearing the furlong grounds, and dug in gamely.

Turco Bravo, off a bit slowly and reserved at the rear of the six-horse field into the stretch, finished best of all down the center of the track to be third. Stormin Monarcho, Decisive Moment and Csaba rounded out the order of finish.

Valid, a 4-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro owned by Carolyn Vogel's Crossed Sabres Farm, won for the third time in his last four starts. He also captured the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup earlier this summer. Valid completed the distance over a fast but cuppy track in 1:39.30 and paid $3.40.

“We tried a different tactic today," Vitali said. "We wanted to see what we had, so I told Orlando to let the speed go. We also had Midnight Cello in there. He scared me for a minute there. But Orlando said he had plenty left.”

Vitali said the Eight Miles West was the final test to determine whether Valid deserved a chance to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

“That was my objective here,” Vitali said. “And he came through."