08/19/2005 12:00AM

Norman horses barred from Calif. for one year

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Cole Norman, the third-leading trainer in the nation by victories, has been banned from entering horses in California for one year after a horse he started at Del Mar in July was found to have exceeded the permitted limit of carbon dioxide levels.

The overage occurred in a blood test taken from Top Commander, who finished fifth in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Handicap on July 31.

Norman's penalty is the most severe since a consortium of racetracks and industry officials began to conduct statewide testing for excessive carbon dioxide levels earlier this year.

A group of officials from the California Thoroughbred Trainers, Thoroughbred Owners of California, and the state's racing associations determined the penalty.

Five other trainers have been penalized for excessive carbon dioxide levels by having their horses placed under surveillance for 24 hours before a race for a span of 30 days.

Norman's penalty is different because he is not based in California, as are the other five trainers.

According to a statement released by the consortium, Norman can request permission to enter a horse in California in the coming year, but that the entry will be be accepted only by prior approval of the CTT, TOC, and racing associations.

In the event he is granted permission, Norman "must submit to security procedures deemed appropriate by the racing association to insure the integrity of California racing," according to statement released by the consortium.

The statement said that Norman would have to pay for the security.

Through Thursday, Norman had won 182 races this year.