Vahva asserted herself in the final sixteenth to win the $750,000 Charles Town Oaks (G3) Friday night, the second of two stakes winners for Gun Runner on the card at the West Virginia oval.
Earlier in the evening, Society was a dominating winner of the $250,000 Misty Bennett Pink Ribbon S.
The duo are just two of Gun Runner’s 11 stakes winners this year. The Three Chimney’s stallion is dominating the 2023 Third-Crop Sire list and is second only to Into Mischief on the General Sire list.
Vahva, ridden by John Velazquez, sat just behind the speed along the fence for the first five furlongs. She came off the rail midway on the final bend to begin her run for the lead, She came outside of Late Frost and Undervalued Asset, collaring them in midstretch and going by to win by 1 ¼-lengths in 1:25.01 for the seven furlongs on a fast track.
“I was really confident when I saw where Johnny was going around that first turn,” trainer Cherie DeVaux said of Vahva’s effort. “You know, the speed in front and just sat nice and quietly behind. She’s just such a great filly for us.”
Vahva, who was collecting her first stakes win, is 3-2-2 in nine starts and has earned $662,235 for Belladonna Racing LLC, Edward Hudson, Jr., West Point Thoroughbreds and LBD Stable. The bay filly was bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds.
Society, a Peter Blum Thoroughbreds, LLC homebred, was much the best in the Pink Ribbon. She came out of the gate quickly to assume command and dictated the pace throughout. After leading by a length for most of the trip, she accelerated through the stretch to win by 5 ½-lengths in 1:23.11 for the seven furlongs on a wet-fast track.
Winner of last year’s Cotillion S. (G1) and most recently the Chicago S. (G3) by 10 lengths, 4-year-old Society is 7-0-1 in 11 starts and has earned $1,489,535.