09/23/2004 12:00AM

Broken leg can't stop Bush

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EAST BOSTON, Mass. - If there was a tough-guy award for a Suffolk Downs backstretch worker, it would probably have to go to a gal. Trainer Lynette Bush saddled Beautiful Lassie to victory Wednesday, only three weeks after suffering a broken leg when kicked by a horse.

The accident occurred while Bush, who also works as a pony girl, was leading a young horse in a post parade and he spun around her pony and kicked her left leg. Bush suffered compound fractures of her tibia and fibula.

Bush is now on crutches and wearing a bright red cast covered with several signatures and get-well notes.

Bush has only six horses in her string, and Beautiful Lassie's win was Bush's third in-the-money finish from six starts on the year. It was also Bush's first win of 2004.

"It's been tough, but I've got a good groom and a lot of good friends that have come to help out," she said. "I've had to take notice of where all the water buckets are placed in order to get around, and working bandages on the horses has been weird because I'm coming from the wrong direction, but I've had a lot of help. I've been blessed that way."

Doctors tell Bush she'll need to be in the cast for at least another five weeks, followed by extensive physical therapy.

"I hope the doctors say it can come off sooner," said Bush after Wednesday's victory. "I'm on my way to go see them now. In fact, saddling this horse made me late for my appointment. But I'm glad this is the reason I'm late."

Hole injures knee

Just two races after Bush won her race, jockey Taylor Hole suffered an injury to his knee. Like Bush, he was kicked by a horse.

Hole was dismounting I've Got the Time after the fourth race when he was kicked. He was taken to a local hospital for X-rays. Hole told the track's publicity office he didn't think anything was broken, but he didn't know how long he would be out of the saddle.

Stakes-less final weeks

There are nine weeks remaining until the meet ends at Suffolk, but no more stakes are scheduled.

The track is tightening belts, girding for the second straight long winter without racing, and there aren't enough funds to support added-money races. The traditional 2-year-old stakes, the Anthony DeSpirito Memorial and the Mom's Command for fillies, are not likely to be run this year.

In the past, the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders would come up with money for late-season statebred stakes, but that seems unlikely to happen this year.