Norman Slapped With One-Year Ban in California

Louisiana-based trainer Cole Norman will be prohibited from entering horses in California for a period of one year after his horse Top Commander was found to have been in violation of limits for total carbon dioxide when he ran fifth in the Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I) at Del Mar July 31.

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club announced the penalty Thursday.

It was the first time officials in California had taken such an action in response to a "milkshaking" incident. The policy of the TCO2 Testing Committee, in conjunction with the tracks, has been to require trainers on their first violation to place all their starters in a race-day detention barn for a period of 30 days. Since Norman keeps most of his horses in Louisiana and Texas that was not an option.

Norman retains the right to request permission to run in California during the one-year ban. In order to do so, he must gain prior approval from the California Thoroughbred Trainers, the Thoroughbred Owners of California and any racing association or fair where permission is sought.

In the event Norman gains permission to run in California he must submit to any security procedures deemed appropriate by the racing association.

Top Commander tested well in excess of the 37-millimole cut-off for TOC2 levels in analysis of his blood sample obtained prior to the running of the Crosby, according to Dr. Rick Arthur, who heads the testing committee, a consortium of racetrack representatives and horsemen. The Ken Maddy Equine Laboratory at the University of California-Davis handled the analysis.