Norman Suspension Upheld in Louisiana

The Louisiana Racing Commission on Friday upheld trainer Cole Norman's six-month suspension and $1,000 fine for two separate incidents late last year involving total carbon dioxide violations.

LRC executive director Charles Gardiner said Norman, 38, dropped his appeal March 28,so he received retroactive credit for time served. Noman's suspension will continue through Sept. 28, Gardiner said.

Under terms of the suspension, Norman is barred from normal activity at recognized pari-mutuel racetracks, off-track betting facilities and training centers throughout the country, Gardiner said.

Norman, a perennial leading trainer at Oaklawn Park and Louisiana Downs, was fined and suspended by stewards at Delta Downs after Go Poppa Fooze and Bayou de Storm were found to have excessive TCO2 levels following the $150,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes on Nov. 3.

Those levels can be raised through bicarbonate loading, or milk shaking, which is thought to enhance a horse's performance because the increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream lessens lactic acid buildup in the muscles, and thus fends off fatigue.

The LRC was scheduled to hear Norman's appeal on Jan. 26, but he received a continuance.

On Feb. 5, Norman was involved in a head-on automobile accident just outside Hot Springs, Ark., that killed Virginia Heath of Hot Springs, a cousin of former President Bill Clinton.

Norman returned to his home in Bossier City, La., shortly after the accident, and his horses began running in the name of assistant Jorge Lara on Feb. 15 at Oaklawn.

Heath's nephew, Randall Parsley, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Norman earlier this month. No charges have been filed in the case, according to the Garland County prosecuting attorney's office.

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