12/12/2015 5:45PM

Valid withstands late charge to win Harlan's Holiday

Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photos
Valid wins the Harlan's Holiday Stakes by three-quarters of a length Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Valid closed out another outstanding season with his fourth stakes victory of the year, a well-deserved three-quarter-length decision over Madefromlucky in Saturday’s $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday at Gulfstream Park.

Valid, making his first start since his fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, sat a perfect trip under jockey Javier Castellano, who was named to replace Matthew Rispoli about an hour before the race by trainer Marcus Vitali. Valid stalked the pace of Mr. Jordan, overtook that rival near midstretch, then withstood a late surge from Madefromlucky despite finishing on his left lead as he’s done in the majority of his races throughout his career.

Madefromlucky, racing against older horses for the first time, rallied wide into the stretch and was gradually gaining on the winner at the end. He finished three lengths in front of the tiring Mr. Jordan, who ran well making his first start since the Haskell.

Valid, completed his 12-race 2015 campaign with four victories and earnings of over $400,000. The hard-knocking son of Medaglia d’Oro won $333,815 from 10 outings the previous year. Owned by Crossed Sabres Farm LLC, Valid completed 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:42.27 and paid $5.80 as the favorite in a field of 10.

“He’s back at home,” said Vitali. “He likes it here. We knew there was some speed in there. I told Javier to be light in the mouth and keep him close. When it was time, he asked, and as usual, Valid responded. I don’t think the Breeders’ Cup took a lot out of him. He’s been training well. He’s a class horse.”

Vitali said the late decision to replace Rispoli, who won the Groomstick Stakes aboard Valid here Sept. 26, with leading rider Castellano was strictly business.

“I had some thoughts as a trainer, was just mulling some things around in my head,” said Vitali when asked why the late change of rider. “I had talked to Matt the day before. It was nothing personal, a business decision. He’s a great kid, he still rides for me, and we’ll move forward.”