Two turns? Too easy. The Chosen Vron had no difficulty stretching out over 1 1/16 miles in Sunday’s $100,000 Affirmed S. (G3) at Santa Anita, rallying gamely down the homestretch to prevail over four capable rivals.
The Chosen Vron entered the Affirmed as the most accomplished runner in the field, having posted back-to-back victories in the Echo Eddie S. and Lazaro Barrera S. (G3). But the three-year-old gelding had never run farther than seven furlongs, so bettors hesitated to establish The Chosen Vron as the favorite on Sunday, sending him off as the 8-5 second choice behind 7-5 favorite Classier.
The latter, unraced since an eighth-place finish in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), stumbled at the start of the Affirmed and found himself rating behind runners as Jimmy Irish and Defunded dashed to the front through fast fractions of :23.26 and :46.34. Meanwhile, The Chosen Vron was in no hurry to catch up, biding his time at the back of the pack while saving ground inside of Mr. Impossible.
“When the gates crashed his intent was to go, obviously he’s coming from a six furlong race, but it’s so far he understood that when we didn’t go anywhere, he just switched off his mind and on the first turn he was just completely relaxed,” remarked winning rider Umberto Rispoli.
Rounding the final turn, Defunded put away Jimmy Irish and began to open up on the field, edging away through six furlongs in 1:10.82. But The Chosen Vron soon kicked into high gear, rallying relentlessly down the homestretch to catch Defunded close to home and score by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:44.01.
“I had him in a good spot, I threw him on the inside because I know he likes the kickback, and I traveled all the way inside to find a good spot at the three-eighths pole just moving him up,” said Rispoli. “At that point I knew he was the horse to beat, I felt that I had so much horse under me that he did the rest.”
Classier endeavored to launch a rally around the final turn, but soon gave way to finish an eased-up third, 11 lengths behind Defunded. Mr. Impossible and Jimmy Irish completed the order of finish.
The Chosen Vron boosted his earnings to $270,600 with a near-perfect 4-for-5 resume, his lone defeat coming when third in the San Vicente S. (G2) during the winter. A son of Vronsky out of the Tiz Wonderful mare Tiz Folly, The Chosen Vron was bred in California by Tiz Molly Partners. He’s trained by Eric Kruljac, who also owns the chestnut gelding in partnership with Robert Fetkin, John Sondereker, and Richard Thornburgh.
Having proven his worth over 1 1/16 miles, The Chosen Vron has plenty of options for future starts, though current plans call for a return to sprinting in the California-bred ranks.
“I think we’re going to be going for the easy money now,” said Kruljac. “I mean, those races are going to be tough too, there’s some good Cal-breds. But it looks like we’ll run for $175,000 in the Real Good Deal going seven furlongs next time at Del Mar (July 30).”
Having developed into something of a winning machine, The Chosen Vron is an intriguing player for the second half of the season.