The Chosen Vron Makes the Grade in Lazaro Barrera

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The Chosen Vron  graduated to graded stakes winner when he defeated Juddmonte homebred Laurel River  in the $98,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes (G3) May 15 at Santa Anita Park. The Barrera, named for the late Hall of Fame trainer of Triple Crown winner Affirmed, pitted four 3-year-olds against each other at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Laurel River engaged for the lead from the start with I’ll Stand Taller . The pair got away quickly, Laurel River being responsible for the first quarter-mile time of :21.32.

Umberto Rispoli on The Chosen Vron let those two do battle, content to sit last early. The Chosen Vron moved up on the rail in the turn to be second as Laurel River completed the half-mile in :44.29. 

The Chosen Vron then angled outside of Laurel River for the stretch run. He headed Laurel River at the eighth pole and then drew away by 3 1/2 lengths. The final time was 1:16.28 on a fast track.

“These short fields can be like match races,” said winning trainer Eric Kruljac. “I knew my horse could rate, though.”

The Chosen Vron and Bob Baffert-trained Laurel River proved much the best of their other two rivals, both from trainer Doug O’Neill’s barn. Laurel River finished 10 lengths ahead of third-place Wipe the Slate . I’ll Stand Taller was last.

The Chosen Vron went off as the 3-5 favorite over Laurel River at 6-5 and paid $3.20 and $2.10, with no show wagering. Laurel River paid $2.20 to place.

Kruljac owns The Chosen Vron with Robert Fetkin, John Sondereker, and Richard Thornburgh. All four owners celebrated in the winner’s circle. They were partners in Tiz Molly , the dam of The Chosen Vron, and bred Saturday’s winner in California in the name of Tiz Molly Partners. The Chosen Vron is by recently deceased California sire Vronsky  .

“He’s a pretty exciting horse,” said Kruljac. “When you breed them yourself, there’s just that extra pride that goes into it.”

The Chosen Vron, an earner of $210,600, broke his maiden by 6 3/4 lengths in his racing debut Dec. 27. He ran third in Concert Tour ‘s San Vicente Stakes (G2) Feb. 6 and then won the April 3 Echo Eddie Stakes for California-breds and California-sired runners. On that same April 3 Santa Anita card, Laurel River, an Into Mischief   colt whose dam, Calm Water, is a full sister to millionaire Emollient , broke his maiden by 4 1/4 lengths.

“The only time he’s ever been beaten was by Concert Tour,” said Fetkin. “And that horse is running in the Preakness (G1) today.”

Added Sondereker, “When I saw the fractions, I thought we have got a shot. He changed leads and it was just bye-bye.”

Rispoli, who was aboard The Chosen Vron for the first time, was pleased to win for Kruljac.

“This man, when I first came here, he gave me so many winners,” said the jockey. “I’m so glad to finally win a stakes for him.”

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