Sunday, June 23, 2024

Gun Runner’s millionaire filly Vahva overtook Society in mid-stretch on her way to a 1 ¼-length victory in Saturday’s $250,000 Chicago S. (G3) at Churchill Downs.

The 4-year-old filly has now won four graded stakes and earned over $1.7 million in her career. She is one of 30 career stakes winners for Gun Runner, who has three Grade 1 winners and progeny earnings of just under $10 million in 2024. He is currently ranked third on this year’s General Sire list.

Vahva got a good stalking trip under Irad Ortiz, Jr. in Saturday’s seven-furlong race. Society, another daughter of Gun Runner, set a swift early pace of :22.44 and :44.61. Turning for home, Vahva ranged up alongside Society, and the two were shoulder-to-shoulder for the next furlong. Vahva began to edge clear, with Positano Sunset closing late to be a non-threatening second.

The final time of 1:21.01 was less than a second off the track record and good for a Beyer Speed Figure of 99.

“She loves this long stretch here at Churchill Downs and is four-for-four over the surface,” said trainer Cherie DeVaux. “We mapped out her campaign with three targets. She passed the first one with the [GI] Derby City Distaff. Then the [Aug. 24] GI Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga and eventually the [Nov. 2] GI Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Del Mar. This was an important one for us today in helping us continue our path to the Breeders’ Cup.”

Vahva is owned by the partnership of Belladonna Racing, Lynne & Edward Hudson, Jr., West Point Thoroughbreds, Nice Guys Stables, Twin Brook Stables, Steve Hornstock, LBD Stable, Manganaro Bloodstock and Runnels Racing. She was bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds LLC and is out of the Grade 1-placed mare Holiday Soiree.