Vahva and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez came through with a second straight Graded stakes triumph Saturday in the $350,000 Raven Run Stakes (G2) at Keeneland for trainer Cherie DeVaux.
The daughter of Gun Runner took dead aim at pacesetting favorite Alva Starr in the stretch and responded as Johnny V. got her to the wire a half-length in front at 5-to-2 odds.
Vahva and Velazquez also prevailed in the Grade 3, $750,000 Charles Town Oaks (G3) on August 25. To top things off, the Raven Run was Cherie’s first stakes triumph at Keeneland, the base of her rising stable.
“I don’t know if there are words to really describe that (feeling),” she said from Keeneland’s grass winner’s circle, which is only used for Graded stakes races. “Our team has really worked hard with all of our horses, especially this filly, and it’s just so rewarding. Johnny and I have had great success this year in stakes races, and I told him, ‘There’s one thing we haven’t done yet, and that’s come into the infield for a trophy presentation.’ So I’m elated that he got that done.”
A yearling purchase at Keeneland September, Vahva has now won four times in 10 starts and earned $873,810. West Point campaigns her in partnership with Edward Hudson, Jr., LBD Stable LLC, Nice Guys Stables, Manganaro Bloodstock, Runnels Racing, Steve Hornstock, and Twin Brook Stables.
The win was the third in two days for West Point: on Friday, Brigadier General scored in the Keeneland feature, holding strong on the front end with Tyler Gaffalione up for trainer Dallas Stewart. Brigadier General, a 4-year-old Street Sense gelding, landed his fourth career win and moved past $300,000 in earnings.
Also on Saturday, Signator soared over a sloppy track at Aqueduct for his second career win. Shug McGaughey trains the 3-year-old Tapit colt.
Signator winning at Aqueduct: