Valid wins Monmouth’s Iselin Stakes

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OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) Valid won the $150,000 Iselin Stakes, beating archrival Bradester by 3 1/2 lengths Sunday in their third and final meeting this season at Monmouth Park.

Bradester, the 6/5 favorite, was aiming for a sweep of the trio of major stakes here for older horses. He had posted pacesetting wins in the Salvator Mile and the Monmouth Cup.

After watching Valid chase the leader to get third in the Salvator and second in the Monmouth Cup, trainer Marcus Vitali decided a different strategy and a new jockey were needed.

Vitali wanted to take the fight to Bradester immediately, and he entrusted the job to Nik Juarez.

“We got caught in a few rough trips and made a few calls that probably weren’t the right calls for the style of Valid,” Vitali said. “I told Nik `Don’t let him get away’.”

It worked perfectly as Valid pressed the early pace set by Albano, forcing Bradester into a three-wide stalking trip after he surprisingly failed to fire to the front.

Valid took the lead at the top of the final turn and this time it was Bradester in the role of pursuer. They dueled until midstretch when Valid started to pull away.

“We had to be aggressive today,” Vitali said. “My horse is a fighter.”

Bradester held second by only a neck over Matterhorn.

Valid, a 5-year-old gelding, got his ninth win in 30 starts. He paid $8.80, $3.60 and $2.40 as the 3-1 second choice.

With closing day less than a month away on Sept. 27, Valid and the rest of Vitali barn at Monmouth will soon be heading south to Gulfstream Park. Vitali, who won three races on Sunday, said Valid will get a brief vacation – 30 to 45 days – before the trainer looks for another stakes engagement.

Bradester returned $3 and $2.20 while Matterhorn paid $2.40 to show.

The time was 1:50.14 for the 1 1/8 miles on the fast track.

Albano was fourth followed by Anchor Down and Matrooh.

It was the first stakes victory for Juarez.

Arabian Knight off Kentucky Derby trail; will return later

Matt Stone/Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Arabian Knight is off the Kentucky Derby trail.

Wagering has been suspended on the 3-year-old colt for the Derby’s future wager after owner Amr Zedan announced the decision. Arabian Knight was the second choice on the morning line behind favorite Forte for the May 6 race.

“Trainer Tim Yakteen wasn’t happy with his last work & we feel it’s in Arabian Knight’s best interest not to rush & allow him more time to develop,” Zedan tweeted. “We know he’s a superior talent & our plan is to point him toward a summer and fall campaign.”

Purchased for $2.3 million as a 2-year-old, Arabian Knight won his debut by 7 1/4 lengths at Keeneland last November. He made his 3-year-old debut in the Southwest at Oaklawn in January and won by 5 1/2 lengths.

Arabian Knight had his third workout at Santa Anita.

Tapit Trice wins Tampa Bay Derby, earns Kentucky Derby points

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TAMPA, Fla. — Tapit Trice rallied from last to win the $360,000 Tampa Bay Derby by two lengths and earn qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

Ridden by Luis Saez, Tapit Trice ran 1 1/16 miles 1:43.37. The 1-2 favorite in the field of 12 paid $3 to win. The 3-year-old colt earned 50 qualifying points, which places him in the 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby on May 6.

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher extended his record for most wins in the Grade 3 race to six. He already has the early Kentucky Derby favorite in Forte, who won the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream last weekend.

Classic Car Wash was second and Classic Legacy was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Tapit Trice was making his stakes debut after winning two of three starts.

“Once he got clear down the lane, he really extended himself,” Pletcher said. ”I loved the way he finished up. He relished the two turns, and the longer he goes, the better he’ll get.”