08/09/2001 11:00PM

Norman claimer 'Smokin' tries stakes


Leading trainer Cole Norman, who turned two claims into stakes winners last weekend at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La., will try to turn the trick again Sunday with Smokin N Jokin in the $40,000 Chapel Belle Stakes.

The 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies has also drawn Prado's Trick, perhaps the biggest threat to Smokin N Jokin; Slapstick, a recent allowance winner for trainer Steve Asmussen; and Mountain Kitten, another Norman claim who has won her last three starts and who will be coupled with Smokin N Jokin.

Norman claimed Smokin N Jokin for $35,000 on behalf of Kenneth Murphy in May at Lone Star Park near Dallas. She returned to win a conditioned allowance for her new connections, then finished third in the $125,000 Walmac Lone Star Oaks behind the well-regarded La Recherche and Devout Sinner, who is to face male rivals in the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park on Sunday.

Carlos Gonzalez has the mount on Smokin N Jokin.

David Nuesch has the call on Prado's Trick, who has finished second in her last two starts, both of which came around two turns on turf. Trainer Gilbert Ciavaglia outfitted the filly with blinkers for her last start. "We added blinkers to her because she'll hesitate when she makes the lead or gets up close to the front, and I think it's cost us a couple of races," said Ciavaglia, who trains the filly, a daughter of El Prado, for Colbeth Farms.

Prado's Trick should appreciate the return to racing with straight 3-year-olds in the Chapel Belle. In her last start she was beaten 2 1/2 lengths by the 4-year-old Virginia Flapper, who also advances to stakes company Sunday, her stakes debut coming in the $35,000 Azalea Handicap at Remington Park.