11/14/2001 1:00AM

Suffolk Downs


EAST BOSTON, Mass - A racing bill that passed the state legislature last Thursday is expected to be signed by acting Governor Jane Swift late this week. The new legislation puts an end to a two-year dispute, during which a string of extensions kept racing alive in Massachusetts.

Although horsemen and management say the bill falls short of their expectations, the measure will provide an estimated $3 million in additional purse money, which will come through a reduction in the state's portion of the mutuel takeout.

* Charlie Giovino of Wakefield took top honors in last week's Daily Racing Form/NTRA Handicapping contest. Giovino picked a couple of winners and ran his initial $1,500 stake up to $5,200, proving best in the field of more than 400 hopefuls. He earned a berth in the national handicapping championship at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas on Jan. 25 and 26, 2002. Suffolk Downs will provide Giovino and the next three top earners with round-trip airline tickets from Boston to Las Vegas and lodging at the MGM Grand.

* The Marines are coming to Suffolk on Dec. 1 for their annual Toys for Tots drive. The Marines will be at the clubhouse entrance to accept donations of new, unwrapped toys. All those donating a toy will be rewarded with free admission. Cash donations will also be accepted.

* Jini's Jet, the talented 3-year-old Mass- bred owned by Anthony Spadea and Christine Wallace, finished second Sunday in Aqueduct's $100,000 New York Stallion Cormorant Stakes under Dyn Panell. Trained by Karl Grusmark, Jini's Jet, a son of A. P Jet, cut the early pace but was run down in the stretch by Union One.

Jini's Jet had already earned a special achievement award from the New England Turf Writers' Association. He and the other New England champions will be honored at NETWA's annual dinner on Nov. 19, at the Danversport Yacht Club. Proceeds from the dinner will be donated to New York Heroes Fund through NTRA charities.

The association's top award, the Sam McCracken Award for lifetime contributions to New England racing, will be presented to Don Cress. Tickets are $50. and can be purchased by calling Lynne Snierson at 603 898-2311, ext. 292.