The Chosen Vron very game in taking the $150K Don Valpredo California Cup Sprint (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)
Santa Anita Press Release
ARCADIA, Calif.— Although he took intense pace pressure to the three-sixteenths pole, heavily favored The Chosen Vron managed to dig deep and find more when it counted as he held off a late-charging Big City Lights by a neck to win Saturday’s $150,000 Don Valpredo California Cup Sprint at Santa Anita. Ridden by Hector Berrios and trained by Eric Kruljac, The Chosen Vron got six furlongs in 1:08.96.
The first of five state-bred stakes on Cal Cup Day at Santa Anita, the Cal Cup Sprint is part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for California-bred or sired runners.
Although Berrios said following the race that his intention was not to go to the early lead, that’s where The Chosen Vron took him from his number four post position and he was immediately engaged to his outside by Resilient and the pair went head and head through scintillating splits of 22.07, 44.36 and 56.60.
Three sixteenths out, the winner eased clear by a half length, but Richard Mandella’s Big City Lights, two off the lead at the quarter pole, was flying late under Juan Hernandez and with a sixteenth of a mile to run, the Sprint outcome was very much in doubt.
A 5-year-old gelding by Vronsky, The Chosen Vron, who had won his last three races, all statebred stakes, was off as the 2-5 favorite in a field of six older horses and paid $2.80, $2.10 and $2.10.
Owned by Sondereker Racing, LLC, Eric Kruljac, Robert Fetkin and Richard Thornburgh, The Chosen Vron, who won a pair of graded stakes at age three, now has a total of eight stakes wins to his credit. Bred by Tiz Molly Partners, The Chosen Vron is out of the Tiz Wonderful mare Tiz Molly.
With today’s winner’s share of $90,000, The Chosen Vron increased his earnings to $612,678 from an overall mark of 13-9-1-2.
Big City Lights, the second choice at 2-1, paid $2.20 and $2.10 while finishing 3 ½ lengths clear of Resilient.
Breaking from the far outside under Diego Herrera, Resilient, a lightly raced 6-year-old gelding, was the longest shot in the field at 21-1 and paid $3.40 to show.