07/31/2002 11:00PM

Ark-La-Tex: Unrullah Bull goes for repeat

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Last year, Unrullah Bull backed up trainer Cole Norman's contention he was one of the best horses he had ever claimed when he registered his first stakes win in the Ark-La-Tex Handicap at Louisiana Downs.

This year, a win in Saturday's $50,000 Ark-La-Tex at the Bossier City, La., track, would be pure gravy for Unrullah Bull.

Since taking the Ark-La-Tex a year ago, Unrullah Bull, whom Norman claimed for $25,000 on behalf of Jim and Treasa Donnan, has gone on to win the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park. After the race, Norman upgraded Unrullah Bull to his best claim ever, which is saying something considering Norman has claimed more than 150 horses since he opened a stable in 1995.

Unrullah Bull, a career winner of nine races and $425,729, is the 121 highweight Saturday in the Ark-La-Tex, which has been shortened in distance to 1 1/16 miles this year after being contested over 1 1/8 miles since 1983.

The race has drawn six others, including Big Numbers, L.A. Spider Legs, Rebridled, and Prince Iroquois, who finished second to Congaree in May in the $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap.

Unrullah Bull comes into the race off an even fifth-place finish in the $75,000 Bob Johnson Memorial at Lone Star. Since that race he has worked sharply at Louisiana Downs, going four furlongs in a near-bullet 48.60 seconds last Saturday. He will be ridden by Anthony Lovato.

Tim Doocy has the call on Big Numbers, who rallied from far back for third last out in the Bob Johnson. He has also worked well for the Ark-La-Tex. Big Numbers is trained by Steve Asmussen.

Trainer John Saffel sends L.A. Spider Legs back to his best surface, the dirt, for the Ark-La-Tex. L.A. Spider Legs seems to have more natural speed than most of his rivals Saturday, and would be dangerous were he to get clear under jockey Robert Lester.

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