09/07/2005 11:00PM

Recount puts Panell shy of 1,000

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First it was the stewards who threw a wet blanket on jockey Dyn Panell's milestone party. Now it's the record keepers.

As a result, a celebration by the second-leading rider at Suffolk Downs has been put on hold as he seeks his 1,000th career victory.

Suffolk records and Panell's memory touched off the original celebration. When Native Redman scored in the second race last Wednesday, Panell and his fellow riders gathered in the winner's circle, believing he had reached the milestone. The problem was, the stewards were on the phone. Despite a congratulatory sign in hand and two jockeys who claimed foul against him posing in the picture, Panell's 1,000th win was taken away and his mount placed third.

Undaunted, Panell quickly regrouped and came back to score in the fourth race and added another victory for good measure.

Now, the folks who keep official records, Equibase, have chimed in with another caveat. The wins Panell, a 29-year-old native of Puerto Rico, amassed at El Comandante when he was starting out don't count toward his official North American count. With all the dust settled, Panell goes into this weekend's action with 993 wins.

In addition to Panell, jockey Jose Bermudez and Thompson are also closing in on milestones. Bermudez entered Saturday's action with 992 wins while Thompson is three wins shy of 2,500.

* Panell acutely understands what many in the Gulf region are going through in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He came to the U.S. after Hurricane Georges devastated his homeland in 1998 and shut down the racing industry there.

Amonte still chasing wins at 70

Frank Amonte continues to prove he has still got game at age 69, but he came up short in his attempt to become the first jockey to win a race at age 70 or older when he finished third four times on his birthday last Monday at the Northampton Fair.

Amonte, an owner, trainer, and jockey, won Sunday aboard Cuff the Quote to extend what is believed to be the record for the oldest rider to win a Thoroughbred race. He broke the mark set by Willie Clark at Charles Town in 1991 with his victory last month aboard Eve's Boy at Suffolk Downs.

With his birthday behind him, Amonte is scheduled to ride in six of the seven races Saturday at Northampton, including a return trip on Cuff the Quote, the 3-1 second-choice in the fourth race.