09/05/2003 12:00AM

Jockey wins on 68th birthday


Frank Amonte celebrated his 68th birthday stylishly at the Three County Fair in Northampton, Mass., by becoming one of the oldest jockeys to ever win a recognized Thoroughbred race, aboard It's a New Moon in Friday's seventh race.

Amonte and his mount surged late to nip Frank's Green Money, giving Amonte his first victory since winning at last year's fair. Amonte also trains three horses based at Suffolk Downs.

"This was a great day," said Amonte. "My family was all here because of my birthday and I just picked up this ride, so it was a great surprise. I think I've still got plenty of wins in me. I know I can get the ones I have ready and I know I can win races anywhere I go."

It's a New Moon paid $35.60 in winning the 6 1/2- furlong claiming race for owner James Bednarski and trainer David Balcewicz.

Amonte began riding in 1951 and since 1983 has been based in New England, where he came to "retire."

The accomplishment is similar to that of jockey Willie Clark, born in 1922, who won two races at Charles Town in 1991.