Champion Elite Power wasn’t the only sprinter to make it eight in a row on Saturday. Several hours after his thriller in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) at Saratoga, Cal-bred celebrity The Chosen Vron came out on top of a three-way battle for the $403,500 Bing Crosby (G1) at Del Mar.
By narrowly outfinishing Anarchist and 9-5 favorite Dr. Schivel, The Chosen Vron earned his eighth straight victory, millionaire status, and a free spot in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). It was no straightforward job, as regular pilot Hector Berrios had to navigate a messy race with a few hard-luck stories.
“Yes, we had trouble,” Berrios said. “I had to pull back and go outside. I got bumped. But this horse is special; he just runs and I love to ride him. He’s very game, and he makes it fun.”
Campaigned by trainer Eric Kruljac in partnership with Sondereker Racing, Robert S. Fetkin, and Richard Thornburgh, The Chosen Vron was in the stalking flight just behind the contested pace. Front-running Peaceful Waters was a neck up on the pressing Todo Fino through an opening quarter in :21.92, but the whole picture changed rounding the far turn.
Kid Corleone made contact with Todo Fino, who reacted erratically, checked, and caused a chain reaction. The Chosen Vron took evasive action, and in the process, Spirit of Makena was hampered and never recovered.
Meanwhile, Peaceful Waters found himself alone in front passing the half-mile in :44.42. His solitude was short-lived, as challengers amassed on every side swinging for home. Anarchist and the wide-traveling Dr. Schivel swept on the outside. On the inner, Kid Corleone cut the corner to sneak to the front, and The Chosen Vron found a gap between him and the tiring Peaceful Waters.
Dr. Schivel, the 2021 Bing Crosby winner as a sophomore, had the momentum in midstretch. According to the chart, he headed Kid Corleone and Anarchist at the five-furlong split in :56.69.
The Chosen Vron was a couple of heads away in fourth in that freeze-frame, but he found the most in deep stretch. Kid Corleone was the first of the quartet to retreat. As Dr. Schivel’s bid plateaued, and Anarchist kept on doggedly between them, The Chosen Vron willed himself up by a head in 1:09.24 for six furlongs.
Anarchist was the same margin ahead of Dr. Schivel, whose ground loss may have been the deciding factor. Another 1 1/4 lengths astern came Kid Corleone, followed by late-running C Z Rocket, defending champion American Theorem, Sibelius, Hoist the Gold, Get Her Number, Peaceful Waters, Todo Fino, and Spirit of Makena.
The Chosen Vron, who returned $11 as a 9-2 chance, now sports a mark of 17-13-1-2, $1,032,678. The Vronsky gelding had proven himself in graded company as a three-year-old, scoring in the 2021 Laz Barrera (G3) and Affirmed (G3) and placing in the San Vicente (G2). But he’d compiled his current winning streak in the state-restricted ranks, on both dirt and turf, from sprints up to a mile, until the Bing Crosby.
Kruljac pitched him into the Grade 1 because he didn’t want to run in the upcoming Cal-bred stakes, a turf route. The Chosen Vron had a frustrating trip when third in last year’s California Dreamin’ S., and his co-owner/trainer was not enthusiastic about revisiting the scene.
“If the next Cal-bred race had been on the dirt, I probably would not have gone today,” Kruljac said. “I went back and forth, and my foreman told me he would shoot me if I didn’t run. So I thought we might take a shot.”
The Chosen Vron was bred by Kruljac’s group, Tiz Molly Partners, named for his dam. Tiz Molly, a daughter of Tiz Wonderful, descends from the family of Canadian champion Delightful Mary and millionaire Delightful Kiss.