06/02/2005 12:00AM

Thompson's win streak 20 days and counting


EAST BOSTON, Mass. - Jockey Winston Thompson is getting settled as the new dominant force in the riding colony this season at Suffolk Downs.

Thompson has rolled into the vacuum left when perennial leading rider Joe Hampshire chose to race at Philadelphia Park and Mon-mouth Park this summer. Thompson starts the weekend at the top of the standings with 28 wins and has won at least one race every day this meet.

Suffolk has been keeping track of wins by trainers and jockeys on a daily basis for the past three years. In that time, the longest run of winning days by a rider was Hampshire's 24-day streak in the fall of 2002. He went on to win 300 races that year and the Eli Chiat Award as New England's top rider. Thompson caught Hampshire in the final weeks of last season to take the title and will get the Chiat Award this year.

Thompson has tallied two three-win days and four doubles during the first 20 days of the season.

Bush back from Charles Town

Vernon Bush, another former leading jockey in New England, is back at Suffolk Downs after stints at Charles Town and other Mid-Atlantic tracks.

Bush won five titles in a two-year-span in the early 1980's at Suffolk, but battled personal problems for the better part of the next decade until cleaning up his life in 2001. He was among the leaders at Charles Town while riding often for trainer Kevin Joy.

This past winter Bush scored a highly unusual riding double, flying from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to Washington, D.C., and winning a race at Gulfstream Park and Charles Town in the same day.

Turf course opens

The long-awaited turf season is scheduled to get under way Saturday with a $19,000 allowance for fillies or mares slated as the feature race.

Helen's Legacy, who has earned her three career grass wins over Suffolk's course, is the likely favorite if the race stays on the turf. She and Pretty Galore are the only two entered in the about one-mile race to have ever won on grass.

Personal Odyssey has won four of her last five starts, with three of those wins coming since she was claimed by trainer Mike Collins at Gulfstream last winter.

* Suffolk will be chronicled in a new book from Arcadia Publishing, a company that specializes in history books about local communities and neighborhoods using old photographs. The 128-page book, compiled by Christian Teja, Suffolk's director of media, goes on sale June 29.