Alva Starr Gains Revenge On Vahva In Madison

Alva Starr | Coady


Dale Ladner's Alva Starr (Lord Nelson) was run down by Vahva (Gun Runner) in the shadow of the winning post and dropped a narrow decision in the GII Lexus Raven Run S. during last year's fall meeting at Keeneland. But the speedy bay–favored by about $9,000 when all was said and done in the GI Resolute Racing Madison S.–managed to reverse form by a similar margin Saturday, even as she was forced to show a new dimension.

In the vanguard early, Alva Starr was eased back into a wide fourth to sit just off the pace into the turn as Red Carpet Ready (Oscar Performance) sped through from her inside draw to duel with Hot And Sultry (Speightster) through an opening quarter in :21.98. Consigned to a four-deep run around the turn, a stark contrast to normal front-running ways, Alva Star nevertheless rolled up outside, easily claimed Red Carpet Ready at the three-sixteenths pole and set sail for the wire. Still clear into the final furlong, Alva Starr was able to hold sway as Vahva was taking ground off of her with every stride.

Winning jockey Tyler Gaffalione admitted that the race did not unfold precisely as planned.

“No, [coming from off the pace wasn't the plan], but there was a lot of speed up there and I didn't want to get into a four-way battle,” he said. “She relaxed for me and when I called on her, she responded for me. I peeked over at the screen at about the eighth pole and I saw somebody [Vahva] was to my outside, but my filly was still running at that point and I was fairly confident we were going to be able to get the job done.”

Runner-up in allowance company in her first two starts at three at Oaklawn and Churchill, Alva Starr dominated older females in the July 8 Dashing Beauty S. at Delaware Park, then bossed her peers by 8 3/4 lengths in the GII Prioress S. at Saratoga Sept. 2. Beaten a half-length at 9-10 in the Raven Run, Alva Starr resumed with a smooth 3 1/2-length tally in a muddy renewal of the Feb. 3 American Beauty S. in Hot Springs.

Pedigree Notes:

Dale Ladner paid $30,000 for a first-crop filly from the first crop of Into Mischief at the 2011 Breeders' Sales Company of Louisiana's September Yearling Sale, and Sittin At the Bar would go on to win 11 of 19 starts–nine in stakes company–and over $700,000 while under the care of Brett Brinkman.

Sittin At the Bar has been even more successful in her second career, as each of her four sons and daughters to make the races are black-type winners, including Alva Starr's half-sister Cilla, who won the 2021 Prioress S.

Sittin At the Bar is also the dam of the 2-year-old filly Walkinaftermidnite, a yearling Gun Runner filly and was most recently bred to Cyberknife.

Saturday, Keeneland
RESOLUTE RACING MADISON S.-GI, $591,050, Keeneland, 4-6, 4yo/up, f/m, 7f, 1:23.36, ft.
1–ALVA STARR, 123, f, 4, by Lord Nelson
                1st Dam: Sittin At the Bar (MSW & GSP, $705,896), by Into Mischief
                2nd Dam: Fast Laner, by Mutakddim
                3rd Dam: Lois Laner, by Cutlass Reality
1ST GRADE I WIN. O-P. Dale Ladner; B-Brett A. Brinkman & P. Dale Ladner (KY); T-Brett A. Brinkman; J-Tyler Gaffalione. $358,050. Lifetime Record: 8-5-3-0, $778,450. *1/2 to Cilla (California Chrome), GSW & GISP, $509,000; 1/2 to Jack the Umpire (Bodemeister), SW, $193,435; 1/2 to Club Car (Malibu Moon), SW & MGSP, $677,265. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus* Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Vahva, 123, f, 4, by Gun Runner
                1st Dam: Holiday Soiree (SW & GISP, $405,642), by Harlan's Holiday
                2nd Dam: Try to Remember, by Include
                3rd Dam: Casanova Striker, by Smart Strike
1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. ($280,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP). O-Belladonna Racing, LLC, Edward J. Hudson, Jr., West Point Thoroughbreds, LBD Stable LLC, Nice Guys Stables, Manganaro Bloodstock, Runnels Racing, Hornstock, Steve and Twin Brook Stables; B-Woodford Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Cherie DeVaux. $115,500.
3–Red Carpet Ready, 123, f, 4, by Oscar Performance
                1st Dam: Wild Silk, by Street Sense
                2nd Dam: Spun Silk, by A.P. Indy
                3rd Dam: Spunoutacontrol, by Wild Again
1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. ($180,000 Ylg '21 FTSAUG; $100,000 RNA 2yo '22 OBSAPR). O-Ashbrook Farm and Upland Flats Racing; B-Lynn B. Schiff (KY); T-George R. Arnold, II. $57,750.
Margins: HF, 4HF, 1. Odds: 2.16, 2.38, 4.88.
Also Ran: Sterling Silver, Maryquitecontrary, Hot and Sultry, Big Pond, Icicles.
Click for the chart and the PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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