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Favored The Chosen VRON defeats Big City Lights in E.B. Johnston Stakes race at Los Alamitos Race Course

Back with fellow California breds, The Chosen Vron picked up his first win of 2022, pushing past the previously undefeated Big City Lights in the closing yards to capture the $75,000 E.B. Johnston Stakes Saturday at Los Alamitos.

The win was the sixth in 10 starts for the 4-year-old Vronsky gelding, who is owned by a partnership that includes Sondereker Racing LLC, Robert Fetkin, Richard Thornburg and trainer-breeder J. Eric Kruljac.

Out of the Tiz Wonderful mare Tiz Molly, The Chosen Vron completed the mile in 1:35.19 and provided jockey Hector Berrios with his first stakes victory at Los Alamitos.

The even-money favorite in the field of six, The Chosen Vron, who won by 1 ¼ lengths, paid $4, $2.40 and $2.20 and increased his earnings to $405,678.

“I’m hoping we can keep him around for a few more years,’’ said Kruljac. “I think he’s as good now as he was as a 3-year-old and maybe better because he’s running against older horses now.

“I think we’ll stick with California breds for now. The race played out how we expected and I thought (Berrios) rode a very good race. I hand it to (Big City Lights). He’s the real deal and our extra year of maturity I think factored in today.’’

A winner of his three previous starts by a combined 21 lengths, including a gate-to-wire score in the Real Good Deal in his 2022 debut Aug. 5, Big City Lights, the lone 3-year-old in the field, set the pace from the inside under jockey Juan Hernandez, but couldn’t match strides with the winner late.

The 3-2 second choice, Big City Lights returned $2.80 and $2.40 while finishing three-quarters of a length in front of 9-1 shot Crash Corrigan. A three-time winner at Los Alamitos, Crash Corrigan paid $3.20 to show.

Completing the order of finish were Appreciated, Desmond Doss, who was looking for his third local stakes success after winning the Bertrando in 2021 and 2022, and Luvluv.

The leading rider during the Summer meet earlier this year, Ramon Vazquez tripled Saturday, taking the second with Glorious Spring, the fifth with Butkus and the ninth with well-regarded first time starter Gandolfini, a 2-year-old son of Justify trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.

Racing resumes Sunday at Los Alamitos. Post time is 12:30 p.m.

The feature is the $75,000 Dark Mirage Stakes for fillies and mares – 3-year-olds & up – at one mile. The Dark Mirage is the last of nine races and has a scheduled post time of 4:35 p.m.

The article above was released by Los Alamitos Race Course.

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