Big City Lights, The Chosen Vron Meet Again in $100K Cary Grant

November 18, 2022

Big City Lights works Nov. 6 (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

DMTC Press Release

DEL MAR, Calif.— The last time Big City Lights was seen here at Del Mar he was beating the likes of Slow Down Andy in the Real Good Deal Stakes this past summer. Multiple graded stakes winner The Chosen Vron also raced at the seaside oval over the summer, just missing in a three-way blanket finish in the $150,000 California Dreamin’ before getting soundly beaten in the G2 Pat O’Brien.

The two will renew a budding rivalry this Saturday in the second half of a stakes doubleheader at Del Mar, the $100,000 Cary Grant Stakes. Five Cal-bred horses, 3-year-olds and up, will go seven furlongs on the main track.

They met in the same race for the first time in September at Los Alamitos and put on quite a show. The Chosen Vron got the best of the match-up, edging Big City Lights in the $75,000 E.B. Johnston.

It was the first career loss for the lightly raced Big City Lights, who has four starts under his belt. The 3-year-old son of Mr. Big is cutting back in distance for the Cary Grant and that’s expected to help the anticipated front runner.

“I think he’s better doing that, at least at this stage,” trainer Richard Mandella says of cutting back his colt to one turn, “but he couldn’t be training any better.”

The Chosen Vron comes in riding a two-race win streak. After winning the E.B. Johnston, the 4-year-old gelded son of Vronsky went to Santa Anita and won the $100,000 California Flag. Showing his versatility, he won on the hillside grass course in just his second race on the turf.

“He might be better on the grass,” trainer Eric Kruljac says. “His two grass races were really something.”

The Chosen Vron was a beast as a 3-year-old, winning three consecutive races in 2021, including a pair of Grade 3 races, the Laz Barrera and the Affirmed, both at Santa Anita.

After a runner-up finish in the 2021 Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar he came back from a brief freshening and won the $60,000 Hank Mills Stakes at Turf Paradise. Kruljac then turned him out for the winter and spring, bringing him back in August in the California Dreamin’.

“He’s getting there, definitely,” Kruljac notes when asked if his colt can recapture his graded stakes form of a year ago. “He needed the time off and he’s rewarded us with a lot of fun and hopefully there’s more in store.”

None Above the Law is also set to run in the Cary Grant. Del Mar’s top 3-year old of the 2021 summer meet beat The Chosen Vron in last year’s Real Good Deal Stakes, but had the tables turned on him last time in the California Flag. That being said it was the Peter Miller trainee’s best race so far this year.

The Cary Grant, named after the legendary actor, is the eighth of nine races on the Saturday card. First post is 12:30 p.m.

Here’s the field from the rail out with the jockeys and morning lines:

Finneus (Ramon Vasquez, 15-1); Coalinga Road (John Velazquez, 12-1); Big City Lights (Juan Hernandez, 9/5); The Chosen Vron (Hector Berrios, EVEN) and None Above the Law (Flavien Prat, 5/2).

"Nice work and well said Jon."

Ryan McCarthy @RMcCarthy1 View testimonials