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Irad Ortiz, Jr. Rides Third Winner Of Derby Card As Vahva Captures Derby City Distaff - Belladonna TB

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Irad Ortiz, Jr. Rides Third Winner Of Derby Card As Vahva Captures Derby City Distaff

The reigning champion jockey has already won three of the first six races on the Kentucky Derby undercard

May 4, 2024
Paulick Report Staff

Trainer Cherie DeVaux and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. celebrate winning the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff with Vahva, EquiSport Photos

Alva Starr may have beaten Vahva last out in the G1 Madison Stakes at Keeneland, but that was Vahva’s first start off a six-month layoff. Fast-forward four weeks to Kentucky Derby day, and the 4-year-old daughter of Gun Runner was able to turn the tables on that rival in the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff at Churchill Downs.

In just the sixth race, jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. was already piloting his third winner of the card when he guided 8-5 favorite Vahva to about a two-length victory over Alva Starr. Vahva completed seven furlongs over a main track upgraded to “good” condition in 1:21.75.

“The last time I rode her, I didn’t know her very well and it wasn’t one of my best rides,” Ortiz said. “Today, I was able to sit a perfect trip and turning for home she really finished strong for me.”

It was an emotional win for trainer Cherie DeVaux, celebrating her first Grade 1 win in the United States and second overall.

“That was an unbelievable performance,” DeVaux said. “To win a Grade One on this type of stage is so special. It’s really hard to describe. I’m just so happy with everyone involved with this horse and our team.”

Vahva is owned by Belladonna Racing, Edward Hudson, Jr., West Point Thoroughbreds, LBD Stable, Nice Guys Stables, Manganaro Bloodstock, Runnels Racing, Steve Hornstock, and Twin Brook Stables.

 

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