10/07/2002 11:00PM

Norman nears another record


Trainer Cole Norman's goal each meet is to surpass his wins from the season before, and if he does that in the final five weeks of racing at Louisiana Downs, he will set a record for wins in a season.

Last year, Norman won 108 races at the track to break the record of 99 wins held by Frank Brothers since 1987. This year, he is 14 wins from breaking his own record, having won 95 races during the first 60 days of the 80-day meet at Louisiana Downs.

"I'm trying hard to break the record," said Norman. "I think we can at the pace we're going at now, but it's not going to be easy."

Norman is winning with 31 percent of his starters at Louisiana Downs, and his success this meet has helped push him into third place in the national trainer standings by wins, with 227 through Tuesday. His dominance will also land him his fifth straight Louisiana Downs training title when the meet ends Nov. 10.

Only Brothers has more, winning nine consecutive titles from 1980-88.

Norman seems headed in that direction. He has enjoyed success at every level of racing this meet, winning stakes to bottom claiming races. Norman also trains the meet's winningest horse, Ruling Star, who remained perfect in four Louisiana Downs starts this season when he won an optional claimer last Saturday.

Norman said Ruling Star could make his next start in the $30,000 Excalibur on Nov. 2.

Princess Jen to Remington

Princess Jen, who closed with a powerful rush to win the $30,000 Majorette last Saturday, will likely make her next start in the $30,000 Lady's Secret at Remington Park on Nov. 17.

"She ran a huge race the other day," said trainer Ronnie Campisano, who trains Princess Jen for Young Stables.

Campisano, who in his first season at Louisiana Downs is winning races at a 32 percent clip, has another upcoming stakes starter in Donna's Mailbag, who was transferred to him after being purchased privately over the summer. In his first start for his new connections, Donna's Mailbag won an allowance Sept. 15.

Donna's Mailbag is scheduled to try stakes company next out in the $35,000 Cajun at Louisiana Downs on Oct. 19, and later this season Campisano will point him to the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint at Fair Grounds.

"He does everything easy," said Campisano. "I know he'll go a mile at least, so my long-term goal is to stretch him out."

Two turns next for Crowned King

Crowned King, winner of the $30,000 Minstrel last Sunday, will get two turns for his next start, which could come at either Louisiana Downs, or in Kentucky, said trainer Billy McKeever Jr.

"I think he's going to be a much better horse around two turns," said McKeever. "He's bred for it."

The Minstrel was some vindication for Crowned King, who dropped to his knees at the start of the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile last month, losing regular rider Chandra Rennie.

McKeever hopes Crowned King will develop into a major player over the winter, and plans to nominate him to the $500,000 Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs on Dec. 21. Long-term, he is pointing Crowned King to the 3-year-old stakes series at Fair Grounds that culminates with the Louisiana Derby.

McKeever, 39, a former farmer who began training last August, registered his first career stakes win as a trainer in the Minstrel.

* Special post for the first race Thursday and Friday is 12:45 p.m. Central. The track will run six Quarter Horse trials both days, with the first Thoroughbred race on each program scheduled to go off at 3:16 p.m.