Alva Starr becomes a millionaire in Rehoboth win

Alva Starr predictably laid waste to an overmatched field in Wednesday’s $100,000 Rehoboth Stakes at Delaware Park, and while the win won’t likely appear in her career highlights, what it means certainly will.

With the win, the four-year-old Lord Nelson filly’s sixth in 10 outings, Alva Starr surpassed the million-dollar mark in career earnings.

“It’s great for the family, a great accomplishment,” said winning trainer Brett Brinkman. “We own the whole family, so we’re very happy to have a quality filly and have the luck to get her to a million dollars. It’s not an easy task in this business.”

Brinkman, who co-bred Alva Starr with owner P. Dale Ladner, used a Delaware Park stake as a springboard to bigger things last year. She’ll head to Saratoga for her next start, and if everything falls into place, Brinkman is hoping for a start in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint down the road.

“It’s the last race in the line,” he said. “It’s the last race of the year that we have. We’re walking race to race and see if we can get there.”

Indeed, the Rehoboth seemed an odd spot for a filly as accomplished as Alva Starr. She won the Grade 2 Prioress at the Spa in her first start after winning last year’s Dashing Beauty here. And she entered the Rehoboth, a six-furlong test for fillies and mares, after back-to-back Grade 1 outings: a win in the Madison at Keeneland April 6 and a runner-up effort, behind Vahva, in the Derby City Distaff at Churchill Downs May 4.

Her next target is the July 24 Honorable Miss (G2), a six-furlong test at the Spa.

“I laid her up over the winter, and I found I had to work her a little bit harder than I wanted to get her to the first effort,” Brinkman explained. “We didn’t work her real hard to get here, and we didn’t want to have to breeze her a ton to get to [the Honorable Miss].”

That made the Rehoboth an attractive proposition: real money, live race conditions, a spot where she’d be expected to win without digging too deep.

Alva Starr
Alva Starr cruised to an easy win in the Rehoboth Stakes at Delaware Park. Photo by The Racing Biz.

And that’s how it played out. Under jockey Mychel Sanchez, Alva Starr shook loose from an early duel to lead at every call, ultimately drawing away to win by 9 ¾ lengths in a modest time of 1:13.10 over a fast main track.

“The time was nothing special in terms of her,” Brinkman said. “But the track’s a safe racetrack, you know, and Mychel just sat within herself early.”

The other three runners were all more than 20-1, with Red Hot Mess (30.80-1) finishing second in her first start in over a year, well clear of show horse Gracie Diamond (39.30-1), who was a neck better than Bennykayandsuzytoo (22.70-1), completing the order of finish.

Alva Starr paid $2.10 to win, and the exacta returned $3.30 for a one-dollar wager. There was no show betting after six scratches reduced the field to four runners.

Alva Starr, a six-time winner, has never been worse than second in 10 career outings. She has earned $1,028,450 in her career. Now she’ll head back towards deeper waters.

“She came out of here really good last year,” said Brinkman. “It’s a good place to train horses, just get ‘em ready. It’s a good place to race.”