A Shout Out to Some of Our Cal-breds

When it comes to Cal-breds in the summer of 2023, the one who immediately comes to mind is likely The Chosen Vron. This is for good reason, as the terrific son of Vronsky extended his winning streak to eight while scoring what currently stands as the biggest victory of his career in the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes.

With the trophy came a bonus: a berth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. While The Chosen Vron will go into the race as a supplemental entry, capturing the Bing Crosby has given him one of the best moments of Del Mar's 2023 summer season.

There is no question that The Chosen Vron has deserved all the attention and plaudits given to him following his latest outing. He is a win machine, a multiple graded stakes winner that has gotten his picture taken at Del Mar, Los Alamitos, Santa Anita and Turf Paradise, and can handle turf or dirt. In short, he is a versatile racehorse who has earned his success.

The Chosen Vron is by Vronsky, who sired another graded stakes winner at Del Mar this past weekend. In the Grade II Yellow Ribbon Handicap, Closing Remarks experienced a good tracking trip around the Del Mar turf before making her charge to the front. Battling with two rivals in the stretch, Closing Remarks displayed both toughness and determination to win the mile and one-sixteenth event. This is the second Grade II win for Closing Remarks, and it adds to a terrific meet by the beach for Vronsky.

But The Chosen Vron and Closing Remarks are just some of the Cal-breds who have been making their home state proud this summer. And the success is not limited to just Del Mar.

Over at Ellis Park on June 29, a Cal-bred son of Curlin to Mischief named Fowler Blue set a track record for a mile and three-eighths in an allowance contest. Taken off the turf, the race happened over an off track. But Fowler Blue clearly liked the conditions as he put his name in the record books at the Kentucky track.

About a month ago, a Candy Ride colt named Yo Yo Candy entered Saratoga off a third place in Monmouth Park's Tremont Stakes. The winner of that race was Gold Sweep, and the two met again in the Grade III Sanford Stakes at the Spa. Gold Sweep was the overwhelming odds-on favorite that day, while Yo Yo Candy had far less backing at 46-1 odds.

But after closely tracking the leaders, Yo Yo Candy took over to defeat Gold Sweep in the six furlong event while becoming a Grade III winner in just his third start. It was only last year that Yo Yo Candy was a Northern California Yearling Sale graduate, and now he owns a victory at one of racing's most legendary tracks. And there is always great pride in seeing a Cal-bred win out of state.

We also saw that the very next day at Emerald Downs. Entered in the black-type Irish Day Stakes, Clovisconnection sought to get another win at the Washington State track after finishing first in the Auburn Stakes a few weeks earlier in stakes record time. After running in fourth after a quarter mile, Clovisconnection led at every point of call thereafter to make it two straight at Emerald Downs (he also just won the Robert Dupret Derby at Santa Rosa on Saturday, so kudos to him!).

Not to be forgotten here is Vronsky, who is the sire of Clovisconnection along with Closing Remarks and The Chosen Vron. Thanks to those three talented Thoroughbreds, Vronsky is having quite the summer as a stallion.

Fast forward to July 20, just a few days after Clovisconnection's win. Up at Assiniboia Downs in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, two members of Smiling Tiger's progeny made their dad proud.

The gelding Magic Tiger made good on his status as post time favorite to win the seven and one-half furlong R. J. Speers Memorial Stakes after rallying from off the pace. Completing the exacta was fellow gelding Tiger Dad, who had the lead late before Magic Tiger took over. This followed a victory in the Free Press Stakes at Assiniboia on June 28. Simply put, that was not a bad couple of weeks in Canada for Smiling Tiger.

But another Cal-bred has made his presence felt at Assiniboia. After a second in the seven and one-half Canada Stakes on July 18, Big Stretch lived up to his name in the Escape Clause Stakes as he made a huge rally from last in the far turn (after being far back) before rocketing past the leader to come up with the victory. A son of Mr. Big, Big Stretch has joined Tiger Dad and Magic Tiger in putting their stamp at Assiniboia.

And back at Emerald Downs, Daffodil Sweet took third at boxcar odds in Sunday's Emerald Distaff Stakes after winning an allowance optional claiming contest there on July 30. Like at Assiniboia, Emerald Downs has been good to Cal-breds this summer.

Then we come to August 4. Over six years removed from his last race, California Chrome's crowning achievement came to fruition as the legendary Cal-bred was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

Following a career that saw him win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Dubai World Cup, Pacific Classic and become California's all-time leader in career earnings, Chrome reached the pinnacle with his Hall of Fame induction. It reminds us of the talent of this great chestnut, as he won sprints and routes and did well on dirt, turf and synthetic tracks. Another example of versatility, Chrome deserved his election to the Hall of Fame. And how terrific was it that Art Sherman was there for the occasion.

Over the last several weeks, we have seen Cal-breds win in different states and at different distances. They have won on fast track, off tracks and turf, and they have won minor and graded stakes. And one of them attained the sport's highest honor with induction to the Hall of Fame.

Individually, they have shined. Collectively, they have done it all.

And they have all made California proud.

Published by Support California Horse Racing on August 14, 2023.