06/29/2005 11:00PM

Will Senor Ladd get horse-of-year nod?


EAST BOSTON, Mass. - A Massachusetts-bred horse - Senor Ladd - has a legitimate chance to be named New England horse of the year next week when the region's turf writers and horsemen gather on Thursday for the 2004 awards dinner.

Senor Ladd was named New England's top 3-year-old, sprinter and New England-bred in the New England Turf Writers vote last November for divisional champions. The members also voted on the James B. Moseley Horse of the Year Award, but the results will first be announced at Thursday's banquet at the Danversport Yacht Club.

Senor Ladd won the Rudy Baez Stakes last July and the Topsider Stakes against older horses in September for trainer John Rigattieri, who will be presented the Gerry Sullivan Award as New England's top trainer. The Baez and Topsider victories were against open company, and Senor Ladd also won the African Prince Stakes against his fellow Massachusetts-breds.

Milky Way Guy, named the best older male and winner of the James Carney Memorial Award as the top turf horse in New England, probably would have attracted some votes for the horse of the year title, but he did not win a stakes race all last year. He was disqualified from first place for interference in the Bruce Smith Stakes and lost the Old Ironsides to Mid-Atlantic shipper Gran Cesare by a head.

The Lou Smith Memorial Award for yearly achievement goes to Glen Kozak and Steve Pini. The two Suffolk Downs superintendents managed to get the track open on time for the start of the 2004 season after a sinkhole caused considerable damage last March. Kozak is now the general superintendent for the Maryland Jockey Club.

Trainer Ron Dandy will get the Sam McCracken Lifetime Achievement Award. The perennial leading trainer in New England, he has won 12 Suffolk training titles. This is the first time in the last decade he didn't win the Sullivan Award.

Jockey Winston Thompson parlayed the second riding title of his career last season at Suffolk into his first Eli Chiat Award, ending a four-year run by Joe Hamp-shire.

Stewart Elliott, a leading jockey in New England at the start of his career, will get a special achievement award for winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes last year with Smarty Jones.

Other winners among the horses are Three and Two, 2-year-old colt; Cape Cod Rose, 2-year-old filly; Lady Beelzebub, 3-year-old filly; Quick Smoke, older mare; Laredo Lil, turf female; and special achievement awards for Aly's Leader, Ask Queenie, Crypto Dixie, and Kipper's an Angel.

The recently announced inaugural class of New England Hall of Fame inductees will also be honored at the dinner. Tickets for the banquet are on sale in the Suffolk Downs press box.

Favored Lady Beelzebub is upset

Lady Beelzebub was upset Wednesday, finishing fourth behind the winner, Strawberry Line, in the $25,000 Drumtop.

The overnight race got its name from one of the $40,000 stakes races that was cut from the schedule at the start of the season.

* Suffolk will begin twilight racing on Tuesday with first post scheduled for 3 p.m. The change applies to every Monday and Tuesday in July and August. Post time on Wednesday and Saturday will remain 12:45 p.m.