09/21/2001 11:00PM

Norman has tempting duo in Super Derby


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Travers Stakes runner-up E Dubai is the one to beat in the Grade 1, $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sunday, but for those who like to play percentages, the Cole Norman-trained entry of Royal Spy and Seattle Night is inviting. From a numbers standpoint, Norman is winning with every third horse he saddles this meet and leads the local standings by 47 wins over second-leading trainer Steve Asmussen.

Norman's colts have credentials, but should offer betting value in the Super Derby, with graded winners E Dubai and Until Sundown expected to attract most of the attention at the windows. Norman considers two-time stakes winner Royal Spy the best horse he has ever trained, and earlier this meet sent out Seattle Night in his victory in the Bossier City Handicap over Rare Cure, who returned in his next start to win the Prelude Stakes, which serves as the local prep for the Super Derby.

Royal Spy became a stakes winner this spring when he was transferred to the turf after running fourth in the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby. In his second career start on turf he romped by 9 1/2 lengths in the $250,000 Diamond "A" USA Stakes at Lone Star Park near Dallas, then followed that race up with a seven-length win in Lone Star's $125,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge. In his last start he set most of the pace in the Grade 1 Secretariat over 1 1/4 miles on turf before checking in 11th.

"Last time we let him go to the front and that's not his style," said Norman. "He needs to be coming from off the pace." When the trainer began teaching Royal Spy to rate - at about the same time he transferred him to turf - the horse developed into a stakes winner. Before his turf wins, Royal Spy won two main track route races at Oaklawn Park, and should handle the return to dirt Sunday.

Anthony Lovato, who with Norman forms the meet's winningest jockey-trainer pair, has the mount on Royal Spy, while Carlos Gonzalez will ride Seattle Night. Both horses race for K.K. And Vilasini Jayaraman.

Invaders take on Chausson Poire

Chausson Poire has risen to the top of the local 3-year-old filly division this meet with commanding wins in the $40,000 Chapel Belle on Aug. 12, and the $50,000 Lyrique Handicap on Sept. 2. Unbeaten at Louisiana Downs, she faces a tough group of out-of-state invaders Sunday as the 121-pound highweight in the $50,000 Marie DeBartolo Oaks Handicap. The

1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies supports the Super Derby.

The chief threats to Chausson Poire are La Recherche, winner of the $125,000 Lone Star Oaks in July; Golly Greely, who makes her turf debut after running third in both the Grade 3 Dogwood and Grade 3 La Troienne this spring for trainer Cecil Borel; and Mysia Jo, who earlier this year ran third in the Grade 2 Fantasy.

Russell Woolsey has the mount on Chausson Poire for trainer Duane Knipe. Last week, Woolsey and Knipe teamed together to upset the $150,000 River Cities Breeders' Cup Turf at Louisiana Downs with Champs Elysees.

Franks looks for first Super Derby

Quadrophonic Sound will attempt to give Louisiana oilman John Franks his first win in the Super Derby. Franks has won the owner title at Louisiana Downs every meet but one since 1982, and has currently won 144 stakes at the track. He has had 10 starters in the Super Derby since 1985, and twice has finished second in the race with Saintly Prospector in 1993 and Precocity in 1997.

Quadrophonic Sound comes into the Super Derby on the heels of a game second-place finish to Rare Cure in the Prelude. Before that race he finished second in the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Derby. "Mr. Franks and I always had in the back of our mind to find a mile and a quarter race for this horse," said trainer Bobby Barnett, who has given the mount to leading rider Kirk LeBlanc.

*Louisiana Downs is proceeding with construction plans to install a slots casino on the first floor of the grandstand, but has put off work on that floor until after the Super Derby. Last year a crowd of 14,438 attended the race, and the track will need the space the first floor offers to comfortably accommodate the crowd for its richest day of racing Sunday. Last year on Super Derby Day, handle from all sources was $5,833,420.

*King and Hart ($7.40) came out of retirement to win the fifth race Thursday at Louisiana Downs, his first start since March 24. Norman trains the 9-year-old King and Hart, who was one of the winningest horses last year at Louisiana Downs.

*The track condition Thursday was sloppy, and there is a 30 percent chance of rain for Sunday.