02/13/2009 12:00AM

Valid Stripes ready to roll at Retama


The last time Valid Stripes raced at Retama Park near San Antonio he put up one of the year's highest Beyer Figures for a 2-year-old, a 100. Saturday night, he will return to Retama where he will be a solid favorite in one of two divisions of the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes.

The Jim's Orbit, for 3-year-olds at one mile, will go as the sixth race, while 3-year-old fillies will run in the eighth, the $125,000 Two Altazano division of the Stallion Stakes. Both races are restricted to the offspring of stallions nominated to the series.

Valid Stripes last raced at Retama on Dec. 6, rolling to an 11-length win in the $50,000 Groovy for Texas-breds at seven furlongs. For the effort, he earned the triple-digit Beyer. Valid Stripes has represented himself well against open company since that race, finishing third in the $60,000 Sugar Bowl at Fair Grounds on Dec. 20, and second in the $50,000 Triple Sec at Delta on Jan. 16.

The Triple Sec, run at seven furlongs, was Valid Stripes' two-turn debut. He was favored and rallied for second, beaten two lengths by the Larry Jones-trained It Happened Again.

"I think this is a good spot for him," said Amos Laborde, who trains Valid Stripes for Donald Erickson. "I think the one that beat me last time was a pretty good horse. I've got confidence this time. I think he's going to get the candy."

Valid Stripes owns the field's best last-race Beyer, an 89. He also is a horse-for-course, with both of his career wins coming at Retama. In addition to the Groovy, a race in which he defeated Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest candidate Poltergeist, Valid Stripes won his maiden at Retama.

Corey Lanerie will ride Valid Stripes, who could get a stalking trip from post 5.

"I think we'll be coming off the pace," said Laborde. "He does mostly what you want for him to do. When you ask him to run, he's ready to go. He's like a push-button Cadillac"

* Tiffany Royal, a maiden winner last spring at Churchill who accounted for the six-furlong division of a $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes at Retama in October, will make her two-turn debut Saturday. She comes into the fillies division sharp, off a 3 1/2-length win in the $50,000 Bara Lass at seven furlongs at Retama on Dec.o6. Justin Shepherd has the mount for trainer Steve Asmussen.