Race Is Part Of The Lucrative CTBA-Sponsored Golden State Series
ARCADIA, Calif.—In a thoroughly professional performance, the Eric Kruljac-trained The Chosen Vron settled nicely off the early leaders, split horses three sixteenths of a mile from home and rallied for an impressive 1 ¼ length win in Sunday’s $100,000 California Flag Handicap at Santa Anita. Trained by Eric Kruljac and ridden by Hector Berrios, The Chosen Vron, a 4-year-old California-bred gelding by Vronsky, got about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course in 1:12.50.
The California Flag, named for the Hi Card Ranch’s homebred winner of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in 2009, is part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired runners.
Unhurried early from his number six position in a field of 11, The Chosen Vron had three horses beat approaching the dirt crossing at the top of the lane but was reeling in the leaders while well within himself and about 2 ½ lengths off the lead. Leaving the dirt, Berrios split horses and his mount responded with an impressive stretch kick that has now enabled him to win six stakes—two of them graded.
“He’s an athlete,” said Kruljac. “An extremely gifted athlete and a lot of times you lose races because of a horse’s temperament, this, that or the other. Luckily, he has always been good in that department. We’ve been trying these different things to challenge him, and he just passes the test every time, almost.
“His lone turf race was after a long layoff, he had incredible trouble, he was blocked and boxed, and he only got beat a head. That was a Cal-bred stakes race against some of the better Cal-breds. We won in Los Alamitos in another Cal-bred stakes, so this was the next Cal-bred race and there was only one way to find out if you can do the hill. He passed the grass already in the Del Mar race, so this was a logical race for him to show up in,” Kruljac continued.
A winner of the one-mile E.B. Johnston Stakes versus statebreds Sept. 17 at Los Alamitos, The Chosen Vron, who was a close third in his only other try on turf three starts back Aug. 6, was off as 5-2 favorite and paid $7.00, $3.80, and $3.00.
Owned by Sondereker Racing, LLC, Eric Kruljac, Robert Fetkin and Richard Thornburgh, The Chosen Vron is out of the Tiz Wonderful mare Tiz Molly. In his first try down Santa Anita’s unique hillside layout, The Chosen Vron is now 11-7-1-2 overall and with the winner’s share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $465,678.
“This horse is very professional, very easy to ride,” said Berrios, who was aboard for the third consecutive time. “They went slow early, but he relaxed, and we got a good position at the top of the stretch. When I asked him, he responded well.”
Ridden by Ryan Curatolo, None Above the Law was about two lengths off pacesetter Hot Box while full of run at the dirt crossing, was fanned six wide and rallied well to hold the place by a nose over Coast of Roan.
Off at 7-1, None Above the Law paid $7.60 and $5.20.
Ridden by Tyler Baze, Coast of Roan leveled nicely late and paid $5.00 to show while finishing one length better than Aligato.
Fractions on the race were 21.57, 43.78 and 1:06.68.
Racing resumes with an eight-race card on Friday, with first post time at 1 p.m.
Santa Anita Press Releae
Photo by Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire