09/29/2005 11:00PM

All 12 in Norfolk after first stakes win


ARCADIA, Calif. - The absence of Stevie Wonderboy from Sunday's $200,000 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita has swelled the field to 12 entrants, many seeking a big performance to justify a trip to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Belmont Park on Oct. 29.

Stevie Wonderboy, the winner of the Del Mar Futurity, would have been heavily favored in the Grade 2 Norfolk, run over 1 1/16 miles. Without him, the race lacks a stakes winner.

The betting will likely be dominated by The Pharaoh and Jealous Profit, who ran second and third in the Del Mar Futurity, and Bob and John and Sacred Light, who won maiden races at Del Mar.

The Pharaoh and Jealous Profit made their first start in California in the Del Mar Futurity, having been bought privately out of Florida. The Pharaoh, trained by Christopher Paasch, finished five lengths behind Stevie Wonderboy in the Del Mar Futurity.

Jealous Profit is trained by Doug O'Neill, who also trains Stevie Wonderboy. Jealous Profit is a maiden after two starts, including a second in his career debut at Calder against maidens on Aug. 20. In the Del Mar Futurity, Jealous Profit was shut off at the start but rallied late to finish 5 1/2 lengths behind Stevie Wonderboy.

"To do what he did shows he has a lot of talent," O'Neill said. "Jealous Profit needs more seasoning."

Bob and John and Sacred Light are making their stakes debuts. Bob and John beat maidens by 11 1/2 lengths over a mile on Sept. 5 in his second start. Trainer Bob Baffert is taking a guarded approach toward the Norfolk. "He's a big, gangly horse," Baffert said. "He's not there yet."

Sacred Light finished second against maidens in a race over a mile on Aug. 25, but was promoted to first after the stewards ruled that he was fouled in the stretch.

Aside from The Pharaoh and Jealous Profit, three horses start in the Norfolk that ran in the Del Mar Futurity - Old Thunder (who ran fifth), A.P. Warrior (sixth), and Plug Me In (eighth).

Trainer Eoin Harty expects a better effort from A.P. Warrior. Harty was highly critical of jockey Patrick Valenzuela's ride in the Del Mar Futurity, when A.P. Warrior was near the front for the first half-mile.

"We were all on the same page in the paddock," Harty said. "He easily sits behind horses in all his works prior to the Del Mar Futurity and since the Del Mar Futurity."