05/03/2009 11:00PM

Norvsky back quick on turf


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Trainer Don Warren would rather be at the racetrack instead of stuck in a hospital room recovering from back surgery, particularly when his promising 3-year-old Norvsky is well-fancied in the race 7 feature Wednesday at Hollywood Park.

"That always gives you a kick in the rear," Warren said this week while waiting for discharge. "They don't even have TVG here."

The good news is both Warren and Norvsky are getting better. A lightly raced gelding, Norvsky is wheeling back just 12 days after a stylish maiden win in his second start.

"I'm not real thrilled running him back in less than three weeks," Warren admits. "But it's Cal-breds, on turf, and a small field. You gotta go."

Seven older statebreds entered the 1o1/16-mile entry-level allowance on turf, in which Nitro Active is expected to start favored. In the money in his last two starts under similar conditions, Nitro Active earns consistently higher figures than his rivals.

But the horse with the most upside is Norvsky, who is making only his third start and living up to the potential he showed in workouts prior to his debut.

"Every time he would breeze, he would beat his company with his ears pricked," Warren said.

Norvsky was sired by Vronsky, a recent addition to the California stallion ranks whose first crop is 3. Warren said Norvsky is "light-boned and doesn't carry a lot of flesh" but said he expects another top effort Wednesday in his initial try against winners.

Norvsky's form has been validated. He broke slowly but finished second in his debut; the horse that beat him, Compari, returned to win the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes. Aaron Gryder picks up the mount on Norvsky. Joel Rosario was committed to Nitro Active before the decision was made to run Norvsky back quick.

Rosario appears to have jumped to the favorite. Nitro Active has the best figures, is proven at the class, and has had a month between starts. Mike Machowsky trains Nitro Active. Other starters include Suit Yourself, One on the House, Dewey's Special, Moonlit Habit, and Royal Vision.

* Norvsky's career is just getting started, but 9-year-old Exceeding appears to be winding down. The gelding, a stakes winner with 14 wins and earnings of $541,541 from 37 starts, drops to the lowest level of his career in race 6, a $10,000 claiming sprint.