09/25/2002 11:00PM

Norman saddles tough one-two punch


If trainer Cole Norman can't beat them on the front end with the quick That Tat in the $30,000 Island Whirl Handicap at Louisiana Downs on Saturday, he could mow them down late with Unrullah Bull.

And if that plan of attack doesn't work, Norman has three other horses to call on in the seven-furlong race: Grey Velvet (who is coupled with That Tat) Yuma, and Warhead. That gives the trainer five of the nine starters in the field, and an excellent chance to win the Island Whirl for the third time since 1999.

That Tat, co-highweighted at 121 pounds with Unrullah Bull, could go favored. In his last start he finished second to millionaire Mr Ross over seven furlongs in the $30,000 Silver Bullet Centennial at Remington Park, and before that won the $40,000 Folklore over 6 1/2 furlongs at Louisiana Downs.

"He ran a powerful race last time," Norman said of That Tat, who dueled early and held well in the Silver Bullet, beaten two lengths in a race that went in a fast 1:21.

Norman claimed That Tat this spring, and the horse has won four of his last 10 races. That Tat has also finished second five times since the claim, and his consistent nature is no surprise to Norman, who a few years back claimed That Tat's half-brother High Timer and won nine races with him.

"Both of them try every time," said Norman. "They run."

Anthony Lovato has the mount on That Tat, while Jamie Theriot will ride Unrullah Bull. In his last start, Unrullah Bull finished seventh in the $50,000 Barksdale on turf, but gets back to the main track and one turn for the Island Whirl.

"I think he'll like the seven-eighths," said Norman, who is pleased with how sharply the horse, a Grade 3 winner at a mile, has worked for the Island Whirl.