The Chosen Vron Heads $150K Don Valpredo California Cup Sprint

January 5, 2023

The Chosen Vron after his win in the California Flag Handicap (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Santa Anita Press Release

ARCADIA, Calif.— Trainer Eric Kruljac’s highly accomplished The Chosen Vron, a winner of three consecutive statebred stakes who also has a pair of graded stakes wins to his credit, towers over five rivals going six furlongs in Saturday’s $150,000 Don Valpredo California Cup Sprint at Santa Anita.

Although he’s also nominated to Saturday’s $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic, it would appear more likely The Chosen Vron will kept on dirt around one turn off of his stirring 3 ¼ length score in Del Mar’s seven furlong Cary Grant Stakes Nov. 19. With Hector Berrios back aboard for the fifth consecutive time, The Chosen Vron will be seeking his eighth overall stakes victory—with four of them coming in main track sprints.

A 5-year-old gelding by Vronsky out of the Tiz Wonderful mare Tiz Molly, The Chosen Vron, with an overall mark of 12-8-1-2 and earnings of $522,678, has proven to be a remarkable athlete for Kruljac. With his lone turf stakes win coming two starts back in the California Flag Handicap at about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf, The Chosen Vron has also shown ample versatility and will be extremely tough to beat in the Sprint if his connections opt to run there.

Big City Lights works Dec. 10 (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Second to The Chosen Vron in both the Nov. 19 Cary Grant Stakes and the E.B. Johnston Stakes at Los Alamitos Sept. 17, Richard Mandella’s Big City Lights, a winner versus statebreds of the seven furlong Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar three starts back on Aug. 5, will be trying to turn the tables on the top selection with Juan Hernandez back aboard.

Owned by William Peoples, Big City Lights made a sizeable splash early, winning his first start going 4 ½ furlongs by some 12 ½ lengths here on May 2, 2021 and then taking Santa Anita’s Fasig Tipton Futurity going five panels on June 20, 2021 by 7 ¼ lengths, both at odds-on.

A 4-year-old colt by Mr. Big out of the Exchange Rate mare Champagne Exchange, Big City Lights has three wins and two seconds from five starts.

Jay Em Ess Stable’s lightly raced 6-year-old gelding Resilient, a winner of three out of his four starts, comes off a solid first condition allowance win going six furlongs versus statebreds on Dec. 4 at Del Mar and will be trying stakes competition for the first time.

Trained by Brian Koriner, Resilient, a first-out maiden winner at age three in February, 2020, is in sharp recent form and rates an upset chance with Diego Herrera riding back. A gelded son of Curlin to Mischief out of the Yes It’s True mare Lost Prophet, Resilient, who was idle for all of 2021, has won two out of his last three starts.


Race 1 of 10  Assigned post time is 12 noon PT

  1. Finneus—Flavien Prat—124
  2. Big City Lights—Juan Hernandez—124
  3. I’ll Stand Taller—Mario Gutierrez–122
  4. The Chosen Vron—Hector Berrios—124
  5. Tigre Di Slugo—Jose Valdivia, Jr.—122
  6. Resilient—Diego Herrera–120

First post time for a 10-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon with admission gates opening at 10 a.m.

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