05/25/2006 12:00AM

Gambardella among new inductees


EAST BOSTON, Mass. - Three names recognized nationally as synonymous with New England racing will enter the region's Hall of Fame at the Sports Museum in the TD Banknorth Garden.

The 2006 class consists of Mom's Command, the 1985 3-year-old filly champion; Carl Gambardella, New England's all-time leading jockey; and Lou Smith, the former president of Rockingham Park.

Owned and bred by Peter Fuller, Mom's Command swept the filly triple crown series in New York in 1985 as well as winning that year's Alabama Stakes at Saratoga to secure an Eclipse Award. She started her career racing at Rockingham and Suffolk Downs for trainer Ned Allard and eventually teamed with Fuller's daughter, jockey Abigail Fuller-Catalano, for most of her championship season.

Gambardella retired in 1994 as the seventh all-time leading jockey in North America. He won 6,349 races over 39 years spent almost entirely at Suffolk, Rockingham, and Naragansett Park. He's one of just 14 riders to win 6,000 races or more.

Smith is considered one of the most influential people in New England racing history. He led the charge to bring parimutuel wagering to New Hampshire in 1933, which allowed Rockingham to become the first legalized track in the region. As president of the Salem, N.H., track, he was at the helm during the Rock's heady years as queen of the circuit right up until his death in 1969.

This is the second class of inductees announced by the New England Turf Writers. Fuller entered last year along with jockey Rudy Baez, former Suffolk chairman James Moseley, Boston Globe turf writer Sam McCracken, and 1987 Massachusetts Handicap winner Waquoit. The Turf Writers have yet to vote a trainer into the Hall of Fame.

Breeders' Cup provides $100K to Mass Cap

The return of the Mass Cap, a Grade 2 stakes worth $300,000, got a $100,000 boost from the Breeders' Cup Special Stakes program and will be named the Massachusetts Breeders' Cup Handicap when it is run Sept. 30.

With the Breeders' Cup funds going to the return of Suffolk's signature race, the James B. Moseley Sprint will disappear from the schedule this year. In fact, there will be no open black-type races at Suffolk this season except for the Mass Cap. A schedule of statebred stakes races is expected to be announced next week.

The names of many of the traditional stakes have been reassigned to $25,000 allowance races, including last Saturday's William Almy Jr. Purse. A Michel Lapensee Memorial Purse, named in honor of the longtime New England jockey who died from injuries sustained in a track spill last October, is planned for mid-July.

Last year the funds earmarked for the Moseley were divided into four $50,000 stakes while the Mass Cap was put on hiatus. This season, Suffolk will kick $200,000 into the Mass Cap purse, and it switched the race to the September date in the hopes of creating a premier Breeders' Cup Classic prep race.

* Saturday's card will have the first turf race of the season as a field of 10 runners lines up for a $17,000 allowance race at about a mile and 70 yards.