07/20/2012 3:49PM

Del Mar notes: Norvsky a top second-stringer for Warren

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Benoit & Associates
Norvsky hasn't won since the San Gabriel Stakes, but trainer Don Warren has high expectations for the horse in the California Dreamin' Handicap

DEL MAR, Calif. – For a Grade 2 stakes winner, Norvsky may not get the attention he deserved around Don Warren’s stable.

“In most years, he’d be our big horse,” Warren said. “He’d be in the first stall.”

The first stall in Warren’s stable is reserved for Acclamation, the champion older male of 2011. Acclamation was expected to be a heavy favorite for Saturday’s Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar.

Sunday, Warren has a chance for another stakes win when Norvsky starts in the $100,000 California Dreamin’ Handicap for statebreds over 1 1/16 miles on turf. Norvsky, 6, won the California Dreamin’ Handicap in 2011 and won the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita last January.

The California Dreamin’ has been a goal for Warren and owner-breeder Bud Johnston since Norvsky finished eighth in the Charles Town Classic in West Virginia in April.

“There is no reason to believe he can’t win it,” Warren said. “After the debacle at Charles Town, we decided to focus on a race at Hollywood and then go to Del Mar for the Cal-bred race.”

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In a prep for the California Dreamin’ Handicap, Norvsky finished second to Eddie Read entrant Interaction in an optional claimer over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 16.

Norvsky is winless in four starts since the San Gabriel Stakes, a race in which he beat the stakes winners Jeranimo and The Usual Q. T. “I was surprised he won that,” Warren said.

The California Dreamin’ drew just five runners, including the stakes winners Holladay Road and Liberian Freighter. Brushburn and Leaving New York will be longer shots.

The race is missing the five-time stakes winner Compari, who is battling chronic foot problems and may start later at the Del Mar meeting, trainer Marty Jones said.

Baffert has usual suspect

Typical of this time of year, a maiden special weight race for 2-year-old fillies features a well-regarded runner from trainer Bob Baffert’s stable.

In Sunday’s sixth race, Wild One, a $625,000 acquisition at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale, makes her debut. She is one of a field of 14 entrants, which will be limited to 10 starters.

Wild One will have a challenge from another first-time starter in Kinz Funky Monkey, and Beholder, who was fourth in her debut at Hollywood Park on June 28.

Kinz Funky Monkey, from the first crop by The Green Monkey, is trained by Peter Eurton and should show speed.

“She’s not a big filly, but she’s fast,” Eurton said.

Beholder was beaten by Executiveprivilege, who later won the Landaluce Stakes on July 14. Trainer Richard Mandella said earlier this week that Beholder should benefit from the experience of her first start.

Trainer Kristin Mulhall runs the first-time starter Solar Eclipse, by Malibu Moon. She was purchased for $160,000 at the Barretts March Sale of 2-year-olds in-training and is owned by Rustin and Julianna Kretz.

Mulhall believes Solar Eclipse may need a start before she is capable of winning.

“I want her to sit off of it and get some experience,” she said.

Mulhall said on Friday that Tale of a Champion, the winner of the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint at Calder on July 7, was recently acquired by Kretz Racing.

A 4-year-old colt by Tale of the Cat who has won 4 of 5 starts, Tale of a Champion will be pointed for the $200,000 Del Mar Mile on turf on Aug. 26.

Amazombie works for Crosby

Amazombie, the champion sprinter of 2011, worked six furlongs in 1:13.20 on Friday, preparing for a start in the $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes over six furlongs on July 29.

Trained and co-owned by Bill Spawr, Amazombie has not started since finishing second to Shackleford in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard in May.

◗ Callaghan has a candidate for the new $100,000 Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf for 2-year-olds on Sept. 3 in the British import Judy In Disguise.

Recently acquired by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Judy In Disguise has won 2 of 4 starts and was 10th in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 22.