Cole Norman, who for many years had trained successfully in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, has died at age 47.
According to a report in the Daily Racing Form, Norman, who had been breaking young horses at a training center in Benton, La., did not show up for work Monday. A friend went to check on him, and he was found dead.
Jorge Lara, a longtime friend and former assistant to Norman, told the DRF that he had last spoken with Norman on Saturday.
“He was real happy because he was going to break 20 babies,” Lara told the Form. “It’s sad to hear this. He went through a lot of things. He was trying to get back in the game, and he was working hard. He was a good boss to me, a good friend. I owe a lot to him.”
Norman was an assistant trainer to his father, Gene C. Norman, then took over his stable in 1994 when the latter died of a heart attack at the age of 67. He trained for over a decade and had great success, winning 16 training titles while training in Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. He saddled his last winner in Feb. 2007, at Oaklawn.
Around that same time, Norman was involved in a traffic accident in Hot Springs that killed 86-year-old Virginia Heath. Norman was found to have painkillers, which were prescribed, in his system. He pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and served nine months in prison.
As a result of his felony conviction, Norman was not permitted to be licensed as a trainer. He did not need a license to work at private farms or training centers.
Norman is survived by his daughter, Cheyenne, and a son, Presley.
Read more in the Daily Racing Form