A 3-year-old daughter of 2017 American Horse of the Year Gun Runner (who currently leads the American third-crop sire list and is second on the general sire list), Vahva is the fifth winner and first stakes winner from six foals of racing age produced from Holiday Soiree (by multiple Grade 1 winner and 2012 American champion juvenile sire Harlan’s Holiday). Also responsible for listed stakes-placed Signal From Noise (by Arrogate), Holiday Soiree most recently produced a 2022 filly by City of Light that went for US$400,000 at Keeneland September and a 2023 filly by Nyquist.
Holiday Soiree won the restricted Shine Again Stakes at Saratoga in 2013 and placed in five other stakes races, her efforts including a third in the 2013 Humana Distaff Stakes (USA-G1). A half sister to Grade 3-placed multiple stakes winner Marquee Prince (by Cairo Prince), Holiday Soiree was produced from multiple stakes-placed Try to Remember, a full sister to stakes winner Midnight Soiree. Try to Remember is also a half sister to stakes winners Silver Time (by Indian Charlie), Ciguaraya (by Latent Heat), and Fuerteventura (by Summer Front).
Include, the sire of Try to Remember and Midnight Soiree, won the 2001 Pimlico Special Handicap (USA-G1) and became the last successful sire from the male line of Domino to stand in the United States. For many years a stalwart at Brereton Jones’s Airdrie Stud, he also stood in Argentina, where he led the general sire list in 2015. Unfortunately for the continuation of his male line, he was a much better sire of fillies than colts, and his lone Group 1-winning son, 2016 Gran Premio 25 de Mayo winner Don Inc, died young. Try to Remember was produced from the Smart Strike mare Casanova Striker, a half sister to multiple Grade 3 winner Duveen (by Horse Chestnut) and restricted stakes winner Cherry Hill Lady. The female line traces back to the English import Pastorella, dam of the great Colin—an unbeaten member of the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame—but it has been a long time since this female lineage produced anything remotely close to Colin’s level of class, and Vahva is the best horse produced by her tail-female line in generations.
Vahva is inbred 4x4x5 to two-time American champion sire and seven-time champion juvenile sire Storm Cat, a reliable source of speed and precocity as well as overall class. Given that her sire and dam were at their best as 4-year-olds, there seems to be good reason to hope that she will continue her improvement in 2024. If she does, look for her in the Breeders’ Cup starting gate in 2024.