07/16/2007 11:00PM

Bodgiteer tops in New England


Bodgiteer, last year's top older horse in New England, was named the region's 2006 James Moseley Horse of the Year Monday night at the annual New England Turf Writers dinner and Hall of Fame induction.

A former Maryland claimer owned by Lawrence Higgins, Bodgiteer blossomed under trainer Paul Thornton en route to three major victories at Suffolk Downs. Thornton's work with Bodgiteer, a son of Captain Bodgit, helped him win the Gerry Sullivan Award as the New England's top trainer.

Bodgiteer beat out the 2005 horse of the year, Ask Queenie, in the voting. A Massachusetts-bred, Ask Queenie did take home the Cliff Sundberg Memorial Award as the top runner bred in New England.

Track announcer Larry Collmus accepted the Lou Smith Award for yearly achievement, while retired trainer Bill Perry won the Sam McCracken Award for lifetime achievement.

Perry headed the 2007 class of Hall of Fame inductees. A South Carolina native, he trained Let Burn to win the Massachusetts Handicap and run second in Suffolk Sprint in 1983. He also saddled Formal Gold to multiple Grade 1 wins and a close loss to Skip Away in the 1997 Massachusetts Handicap.

Joining Perry were Massachusetts-bred champion Rise Jim, jockey Tony Despirito, and Suffolk's first track announcer, Ralph "Babe" Rubenstein.