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Churchill Downs Picks | Chicago Stakes 2024
Society (Coady Photography)

Churchill Downs Picks | Chicago Stakes 2024

Grade I winner Vahava is set for her return to Churchill Downs where she’ll face an accomplished group of five fillies and mares in next Saturday’s 34th running of the $250,000 Chicago Stakes (Grade III).

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Run at seven furlongs, the Chicago Stakes field also includes last year’s dominant winner Society, who’s poised to make her seasonal bow. Carded as Race 7 of 11, the Chicago Stakes will have a post time of 3:51 p.m. First post is 12:45 p.m.

Owned in partnership by Belladonna Racing, Edward Hudson Jr., West Point Thoroughbreds, LBD Stable, Nice Guys Stables, Manganaro Bloodstock, Runnels Racing, Steve Hornstock and Twin Brook Stables, Vahva recorded her first Grade I victory six weeks ago when she cruised to a two-length score in the Derby City Distaff on Kentucky Derby Day.

Trained by Cherie DeVaux, Vahva’s impressive resumé also includes victories in last year’s Raven Run (GII) at Keeneland and Charles Town Oaks (GIII).

The now 4-year-old daughter of Gun Runner has already banked more than $1.5 million in purse earnings in 12 starts with five wins, three seconds and two thirds.

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who was in the saddle for the Derby City Distaff, will return to Churchill Downs for the Chicago Stakes. The duo will break from post No. 3.

Society, owned by Peter Blum Thoroughbreds and trained by Steve Asmussen, dominated her five rivals in last year’s Chicago Stakes by 10 ¾ lengths.

Like Vahva, Society also is a Grade I winner. As a 3-year-old, Society cruised to a 5 ¾-length victory in the Cotillion Stakes (GI) at Parx.

The Chicago Stakes will be Society’s first start since finishing a troubled fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (GI). Tyler Gaffalione will have the mount Saturday from the rail.

Here is the field for the Chicago Stakes at Churchill Downs from the rail out (with jockey and trainer):

  1. Society (Gaffalione, Asmussen)
  2. Royal Spa (Florent Geroux, Rodolphe Brisset)
  3. Vahva (Irad Ortiz Jr., DeVaux)
  4. Chi Town Lady (Jose Ortiz, Wesley Ward)Positano Sunset (Julien Leparoux, Ian Wilkes)