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Vahva Turns Tables on Alva Starr in Derby City Distaff - Belladonna TB

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Vahva Turns Tables on Alva Starr in Derby City Distaff

Gun Runner filly earns bonus credits for Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1).

By   |  May 4, 2024

Top female sprinter Vahva  got revenge on grade 1 winner Alva Starr  in another enthralling renewal of their rivalry in the $1 million Derby City Distaff Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs May 4.

After defeating Alva Starr in the Raven Run Stakes (G2) at Keeneland Oct. 21, Vahva was defeated by her nemesis in her season debut, the April 6 Madison Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. In the rubber match, it was Vahva who came out on top.

Stalking in third just about a length behind Alva Starr, Vahva got a perfect trip in the clear for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. Following fractions of :22.36 and :45.12 set by Spirit Wind , Alva Starr pounced from her second position at the five-sixteenths pole with Vahva in hot pursuit.

With eyes trained on her rival, Ortiz drew his filly alongside at the eighth pole and drew off to prove an impressive winner, defeating Alva Starr by two lengths while completing the seven furlongs in 1:21.75 and paying $5.44 for a $2 win bet.

“She broke sharp,” Ortiz said. “I just go with the flow, let her settle and find her stride. When it was time to go, I asked her and she was there.”

Bred by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Vahva was sold by her breeder for $280,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. It was a packed winners’ circle at Churchill Downs as she is owned by the partnership of Belladonna Racing, Edward Hudson Jr., West Point Thoroughbreds, LBD Stable, Nice Guys Stables, Manganaro Bloodstock, Runnels Racing, Steve Hornstock, and Twin Brook Stables.

The 4-year-old daughter of Gun Runner   picked up her fifth victory in 12 career starts, pushing her career earnings to $1,578,310 while picking up her first grade 1 victory.

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