Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) winner Stevie Wonderboy passed Sunday's Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita, leaving a wide open field in the 1 1/16-mile event for 2-year-olds.
With 12 entered Friday, the Norfolk would have the largest field since 1990, when California champion Best Pal defeated 11 rivals.
Trainer Doug O'Neill said he would train Stevie Wonderboy up to the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) on Oct. 29 at Belmont Park.
The Pharaoh closed willingly in the seven-furlong Futurity after lacking racing room along the inside and finished second, five lengths behind Stevie Wonderboy and a half-length better than Norfolk foe Jealous Profit. The latter also finished with interest after being slammed and shut off at the break. O'Neill also trains Jealous Profit, who is ridden again by Corey Nakatani.
Other Del Mar Futurity also-rans entered in the Norfolk include A.P. Warrior, who faded to sixth after contesting a hot pace, fifth-place finisher Old Thunder, and eighth-place Plug Me In.
The Bob Baffert-trained Roman Ruler won the Norfolk last year. Baffert is seeking a repeat with Bob and John, 11 1/2-length maiden winner in a one-mile race at Del Mar Sept. 5.
Jockey Alex Solis expects significant improvement from Brother Derek. The California-bred son of Benchmark was a distant third in the restricted I'm Smokin Stakes at Del Mar Sept. 5, breaking slowly from the rail in the six-furlong race.
"I think he's going to be a completely different horse this time," said Solis, who was aboard when the bay colt broke his maiden going 4 ½ furlongs May 14 at Hollywood Park. "He hadn't run in a while since his last race. He's a very nice horse, and I think the distance is going to suit him well."$200,000 Norfolk Stakes (gr. II, Race 6, 3:06 p.m.), 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles
PP. Horse, Jockey
1. Brother Derek (CA), Alex Solis
2. Nonino (VA), Rene Douglas
3. Plug Me In (KY), Kerwin John
4. a-Long Rider (FL), Gary Stevens
5. a-Rattlesnake Joe (FL), Garrett Gomez
6. Jealous Profit (FL), Corey Nakatani
7. Say Tomorrow (NY), Martin Pedroza
8. Bob and John (KY), Victor Espinoza
9. The Pharaoh (FL), Jon Court
10. Sacred Light (KY), Kent Desormeaux
11. Old Thunder (KY), David R. Flores
12. A. P. Warrior (KY), Patrick A. ValenzuelaEach horse carries 122 pounds. Long Rider and Rattlesnake Joe race as an Ilona Whetstone entry.