06/08/2005 11:00PM

Meet New England's first hall of famers

Email

EAST BOSTON, Mass. - Four men synonymous with New England racing and one of the area's most accomplished homegrown racing stars are among the first inductees into the New England Turf Writers Association Hall of Fame.

The five inductees are: former jockey Rudy Baez, prominent owner Peter Fuller, the late former chairman of Suffolk Downs Jim Moseley, Boston Globe turf writer Sam McCracken, and Massachusetts Handicap winner Waquoit. Plaques of the five inductees will be displayed in the Sports Museum of New England.

Baez was the dominant force among local jockeys for 15 years until a riding accident forced him to a wheelchair in 1999. A native of the Dominican Republic, he won 14 riding titles at Suffolk and 10 at Rockingham Park and rode a total 4,875 winners. He ranked 17th on the list of career wins by a jockey when the accident occurred. He's now the clerk of scales at Suffolk.

Fuller is best known as the owner of the only horse ever disqualified from victory in the Kentucky Derby - Dancer's Image, who tested positive for Butazolidin in 1968. Fuller's filly Mom's Command, often ridden by his daughter Abigail, was the 3-year-old filly champion in 1985 and winner that year of New York's filly triple crown.

Moseley spearheaded the drive to reopen Suffolk Downs in 1991 after it had been closed for two years, then helped restore the Mass 'Cap in 1995 while fighting cancer through most of the decade. He was also an active owner and breeder, and his wife, Patricia, took over as chairwoman of the track upon his death in 1998.

McCracken was one of the sport's most respected reporters, winning a Walter Haight award from the National Turf Writers Association and an Old Hilltop Award from Pimlico in 1985.

Waquoit was the first New England-based horse to surpass $1 million in earnings. He scored a dramatic nose victory over Broad Brush in the 1987 Mass 'Cap and twice won the Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park.

No trainer is in the first Hall of Fame class because none of the three nominees, Bill Perry, Ned Allard, or George Handy, received the necessary two-thirds of the votes.

Shippers vs. locals in Saturday's Rudy Baez

The first of the four reinstated open stakes races will be run Saturday at Suffolk - the $50,000 Rudy Baez Breeders' Cup for 3-year-olds at six furlongs.

The purse has attracted some prominent out-of-state runners. One is Accurate, who won the restricted Great White Way Stakes at Aqueduct last November. Trained by New England native Steve Klesaris, Accurate is looking to bounce back from two fifth-place finishes this spring. He was eighth behind Texcess and eventual 2005 Kentucky Derby runner-up Closing Argument in the Delta Jackpot last December.

Another shipper is Doctor Voodoo, a stakes winner in New Jersey last year for trainer Jim Ryerson who will attempt to recover from a sixth-place finish in the Jersey Derby on grass May 30 at Monmouth Park.

The top local 2-year-old of last year, Reprized Strike, runs in the Baez. He finished fourth against older statebred rivals in the Rise Jim Stakes last out. He joins Ed Miracle, riding a two-race winning streak, and Purple S Shamrock as the top locals in the eight-horse field.