Norvsky and jockey Rafael Bejarano win the $175,000 California Cup Classic… (Benoit Photo )
Horse racing's world championships take place next weekend in Kentucky, and trainer Donald Warren and owner Buddy Johnston wish their top handicap horse, Acclamation, could be running, but a foot issue has sent Acclamation to the sideline, so Saturday's $175,000 California Cup Classic at Santa Anita let them have some fun with their "B" team.
Norvsky, a late-developing 5-year-old gelding who has been making steady improvement since being treated for ulcers, rallied for a neck victory over Lucky Primo under hot jockey Rafael Bejarano. Holladay Road finished a nose behind in third in the 11/8 -mile turf race.
"It's bittersweet," Warren said about missing the Breeders' Cup. "This is a nice horse, too."
Bejarano, 29, had five victories on the nine-race card, including wins in four of the five stakes for California-bred horses.
In the $100,000 Juvenile Fillies, Starlight Magic, under Bejarano, won by 13/4 lengths over Willa B Awesome in the 11/16 -mile race for trainer Mark Glatt.
In the $100,000 Juvenile, Bejarano rallied Rousing Sermon in the stretch for a 21/4 -length triumph over Motown Men for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and long-time California breeder Larry D. Williams.
In the $125,000 Distaff at 61/2 furlongs on the turf, Unzip Me delivered the fifth victory for Bejarano by 11/4 lengths over West Ruler. It was the third win of the day for trainer Marty Jones.
In the $100,000 Sprint, Courtside cruised to a 21/4-length victory over Bob Black Jack in 1:07.97 for jockey Joel Rosario over six furlongs.
Jockey Tyler Baze has been suspended for 90 days, retroactive to Sept. 1, after he failed to take a Breathalyzer test at Del Mar. The ruling was made Friday by three stewards at Los Alamitos. He could return to riding by early December.
As a condition to Baze's return, he must enter a rehabilitation program of at least 30 days and comply with testing requirements previously agreed to with the racing board.