07/03/2001 11:00PM

Norman, Lovato combine for 4


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Trainer Cole Norman helped lift jockey Anthony Lovato to a six-win night Tuesday at Lone Star Park when he put the rider on four winners, including Royal Spy, who romped by seven lengths in the $125,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge.

Lovato, who had seven mounts Tuesday, tied Ron Ardoin's 1997 mark for wins on a program when he won the final race of the night with Lumpy Rutherford ($5.20). Lovato's other winners included Finest Kind ($15.80) in the third race, and then the Norman-trained River Sass ($4.20) in the fifth, Seattle Night ($3.40) in the seventh, Dancing Dreams ($3.20) in the eighth, and Royal Spy ($2.80) in the ninth.

"I think I won five at River Downs in 1992, but that was the most wins I've ever had," said Lovato, who ranks second in the Lone Star standings to Corey Lanerie, 70 wins to 52.

Norman, who was 4 for 4 Tuesday night, won with five consecutive starters at Lone Star dating back to Sunday, before his streak ended in the first race Wednesday. Norman also had five wins from five starters at Oaklawn Park this spring, although they came in consecutive races: the ninth and 10th races on March 22, and the first three races on the card March 23.

Norman's four winners on the Lone Star program Tuesday tied the record set by Steve Asmussen on May 31, 1999, and on May 3, 2000. Norman ranks second in the Lone Star standings to Asmussen, 71 wins to 59.

Even though he is not the track's leading trainer, Norman is having a once-in-a-lifetime meet at Lone Star, where he is winning races at a 43 percent rate, and where he has developed the most talented horse he has ever trained, Royal Spy.

"This is the best meet I've ever had," said Norman, 32, who has won the last three training titles at Louisiana Downs as well as the 2001 title at Oaklawn Park. "Being on a 40 percent run the whole meet is just very lucky, and you've got to be thankful for all the people that are helping you - owners, a good crew. And the horses, they're running well."

Norman, who has 36 horses stabled at Lone Star and another 50 in Louisiana, said the quality of his stock is the best it has ever been. Royal Spy gave Norman his biggest career win on May 28 in the $200,000 USA Stakes. Royal Spy returned to win the Grand Prairie Turf Challenge, and could start next in the Grade 2 American Derby at Arlington Park on July 22. His summer goal is the Grade 1, $400,000 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington on Aug. 18.

Another promising colt Norman has developed this meet is Explosive Truth, who romped by 10 1/2 lengths in a maiden race for 2-year-olds on June 27. He could be supplemented to the $100,000 Middleground Stakes, to be run next Saturday at Lone Star.

Norman and Lovato will team for two races Friday night, the first with Rivershade and the seventh with Rongbuk. In the featured eighth race, the Norman-trained Cinderella Story will be ridden by Carlos Gonzalez. The six-furlong allowance has also drawn Argentina Avenue.

* Lovato earned $5,000 for the Jockeys' Guild Disabled Riders Fund and $5,000 for the Mike Modano Foundation as a result of his six wins. The donation was made by Bob's Steak and Chop House in Dallas, which donates to the charities when riders have multiple-win days at Lone Star.

* Lone Star had a fireworks program Tuesday, and drew a crowd of 30,462.