(The Chosen Vron wins the G1 Bing Crosby at Del Mar on Saturday / Benoit Photo & Courtesy of the Del Mar Turf Club)
From the Del Mar Turf Club Media Team:
The chestnut Cal-bred The Chosen Vron, a win machine of the first degree, won his eighth straight race Saturday at Del Mar, but this time he did it with — and to — the big boys.
The racy chestnut gelding took on one of the strongest Bing Crosby fields assembled at the seaside track in recent times and came away a head winner after a stirring stretch duel in the $403,500 headliner that carried a Grade I ranking and a $240,000 winner’s prize.
Hector Berrios, who has now won eight straight races on the son of Vronsky, guided his mount through problems at the far turn and into the winner’s circle. Trainer J. Eric Kruljac, who called the shot to take his Cal-bred terror out of state-bred races and take on the best of the best, met them there with a smile that wouldn’t stop.
The Chosen Vron, who now has won 13 of his 17 lifetime starts, became a millionaire with total purses of $1,032,678. The vast majority of all his glory has been earned facing his California brethren, but today it was a different story.
Finishing second in the six-panel test was Ilium Stables’ Anarchist, while running third was race favorite Red Baron’s Barn and Rancho Temescal’s Dr. Schivel. Only a head separated those two competitors who were part of a thrilling race finish.
Final time for the “Win and You’re In” dash was 1:09.24. Twelve horses in all ran in the 78th edition of the race named to honor the track’s founder. The winner paid $11.00.
The Chosen Vron now has earned himself a guaranteed spot and a free ticket into the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Sprint on November 4 at Santa Anita.
Earlier in the card, Peacock Family Holding’s Senor Buscador came running late to pull off a $29 surprise in the 82nd edition of the Grade II San Diego Handicap.
Geovanni Franco rode the 5-year-old horse by Mineshaft who turned in a strong run on the outside in the lane to finish up a length and quarter to the good. The horse is trained by Todd Fincher, who was winning his first stakes race at Del Mar.
Finishing second in the Grade II feature was Reddam Racing’s Slow Down Andy, while a length and three quarters farther back was pacesetter Brickyard Ride, who races for owner-breeder Alfred Pais.
Final time for the mile and one-sixteenth was 1:42.54 and the winner picked up $180,000 from the total purse of $302,000.
Senor Buscador was capturing his sixth victory in his 12th trip to the post. He now has banked $667,427.
The track’s popular Pick Six wager carried over for the sixth straight day and will go into Sunday’s “mandatory” payout session with $384,489 in the kitty to start the day.
The 11-race card means that the Pick Six wager will be held on the sixth through 11th races. First post for the afternoon is 2 p.m.
HECTOR BERRIOS (The Chosen Vron, winner) – “Yes, we had trouble (approaching the far turn). 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. (Berrios has ridden him the last nine times he’s run. He’s won eight of those races.)”
ERIC KRULJAC (The Chosen Vron, winner) – “If the next Cal-bred race had been on the dirt I probably would not have gone today. 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.”
FRACTIONS: 21.92 :44.42 :56.69 1:09.24
The stakes win was the second at the meet for rider Berrios, but the first for trainer Kruljac.
Berrios now has six stakes wins total at Del Mar, but this was his first win in this race.
The stakes win was the fifth total stakes win at Del Mar for Kruljac, but his first in the Crosby.
The winning owners are Sondereker Racing, J. Eric Kruljc, Robert Fetkin and Richard Thornburgh.