02/12/2003 12:00AM

Fonner: Compton is opening-day star


Grand Island, Neb. - Fonner Park began its 50th season of racing on Saturday afternoon with a crowd of nearly 5,000 on hand. The fans saw 50-year-old jockey Perry Compton ride four winners on the card, a feat he has accomplished many times at this oval.

Keeping with the veteran theme, 13-year-old Idorunrun scored his 30th career victory, rallying to win the third race under Jerry Jewell. Idorunrun received special permission from the State Racing Commission to race after the usual mandatory retirement age of 12 in Nebraska. Trained by John Garroutte, Nebraska-bred Idorunrun paid $14.80 to win. He improved his record to 30-13-13 from 114 starts and lifted his earnings to more than $109,000.

Trainer Joe Thomas had a big opening weekend, winning Saturday's nightcap, and returning on Sunday to send out three winners from four starters. Overall he is 4 for 8 to start the meet. Earl Sutton is riding first call for his stable.

o The Nebraska Thoroughbred Breeders' Association conducted its annual awards banquet in the clubhouse Saturday evening, honoring last year's outstanding horses and horsemen.

The winners are: 2-year-old filly of the year, Bevy's Affair; 2-year-old colt, Rocket Charge; 3-year-old colt, Mr. Clearwater; older mare, Oglala Sue; and older horse, Tate's Way.

Broodmare of the year went to Sand Wedge, dam of High Dice. Stallion of the year is Verzy, sire of Oglala Sue, Strawberry Kid, Cube's Cub, and He'sa Littleturkey, among others. Member of the year is Leland Steffen.

The Blood-Horse Julep Cup went to Don Everett's Bluestem Farm. The Thoroughbred Times Award was presented to stallion Glenview as the leading juvenile sire of stakes horses in the state. The TOBA award winner is Don Everett, who also was elected president of the Nebraska horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association last fall.

* Roman J. Sock died Feb. 1 in Grand Island at the age of 72. He was an active as an owner in the state since 1985.