03/07/2002 12:00AM

Hometown girl rides a winnah


EAST BOSTON, Mass. - Jockey Abby Fuller got plenty of cheers and a confidence boost when she teamed with Lyd's a Winnah to take Tuesday's second race at her hometown track, Suffolk Downs.

Since race riding has taken a backseat to raising a family and assisting her husband, trainer Mike Catalano Jr., with their small string at Aqueduct, Fuller's first win of the year worked wonders on her morale.

"It was really fun to be on a horse that was in a great spot," said Fuller. "Mike and I have just three horses in New York and only one of them is racing right now. It's been so tough down there that you start to ask 'can I do this?' But a win is a win and this is great for my confidence."

Fuller, 42, was aboard a horse owned by her father, Peter Fuller. Trainer Ned Allard shipped Lyd's a Winnah from Philadelphia Park, making it a reunion of the team that campaigned Mom's Command to a 3-year-old filly Eclipse Award in 1985. And, of course, you can't say the filly's name without sounding like a born-and-bred Bostonian.

"It was just so great to be home and to get to ride for Ned again," said Fuller. "It was just like old times, only this time I was flying in to Suffolk. Coming in on the plane I was looking out the window and seeing all the landmarks. I just knew this was going to be great."

Allard indicated there could be other trips to Boston for Lyd's a Winnah in the future with an eye out for an allowance race that could lead into the $30,000 Helena Stakes April 27.

Fuller says she and Catalano are also considering returning to New England later this year and will not race in New York through the summer.