07/22/2012 6:53PM

Del Mar: Norvsky defends title in California Dreamin'

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Benoit & Associates
Rafael Bejarano guides Norvsky to his second straight victory in the California Dreamin' at Del Mar on Sunday.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Norvsky, the second-stringer in trainer Don Warren’s stable, won his second stakes of 2012 in Sunday’s $100,000 California Dreamin’ Handicap at Del Mar.

A stablemate of Acclamation, the champion older male of 2011 who won Saturday’s Grade 1  Eddie Read Stakes, Norvsky successfully defended his title in the California Dreamin’.

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Ridden confidently by Rafael Bejarano, Norvsky closed from fourth in a field of five to win the California Dreamin’ by a half-length over Brushburn, a 15-1 outsider. Norvsky was the 122-pound highweight, spotting his rivals from two to five pounds.

“It looked like he was loaded every step of the way,” Warren said.

“Rafael just patiently waited and pulled him to the outside. It took him a few strides to get going.”

Sent off as the favorite, Norvsky ($4.80) ran 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:41.35. Leaving New York, who set the pace, finished third, followed by Holladay Road and Liberian Freighter. Leaving New York set a slow pace of 24.17 and 48.15 seconds, leading by as many as 4 1/2 lengths early.

Norvsky, 6, races for Bud and Judy Johnston and Robert Riggio. A gelding by Vronsky, Norvsky won the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita earlier this year but had lost four subsequent races.

Norvsky has won 7 of 23 starts in his career. Earlier this year, Norvsky was a workmate for Acclamation before Acclamation won the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park.