10/26/2004 11:00PM

Apprentice has three shots at win


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Apprentice rider Katie Repp is still looking for her first victory at Bay Meadows, but the 22-year-old rider has opened some eyes with the first three rides of her career.

On Friday, she takes another step forward when she is listed on three mounts, the first time she has been named on three mounts. She was listed to ride two Thursday.

In her first start, Repp finished second at Fresno aboard Focal Point in a $4,000 claimer at six furlongs. She was fifth aboard Tall and Cool One at one mile in a $20,000 maiden claimer at Bay Meadows on Saturday and third aboard Benchmark Bargain in a $6,250 claimer at one mile at Bay Meadows on Sunday.

Focal Point dueled with Rainier Express early, put him away and opened up on the turn, but couldn't hold off Ariesdotcom in Repp's debut.

"[Trainer] Rene Amesuca had a horse with some speed and the opportunity to take weight off, so he gave me a chance," Repp said. "I was so excited.

"The gate opened, and I thought, 'Oh my goodness. I'm doing this.' The horse ran well, but we got nailed."

Repp, who exercises horses primarily for Tom Roberts and Andy Mathis, has worked horses for a number of trainers, including leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

"I've been around the track for six years," she said, "and exercising horses for four. It was something I wanted to do since I was little. My family is supportive of me but not involved in racing, but I remember reading books like 'The Black Stallion' and wanting to become a rider."

Repp took a traditional approach, getting a job grooming horses at Emerald Downs near her home in Washington. Trainer Charles Essex taught her to gallop horses there.

Repp called her decision to get a license and begin her career as a jockey "one of those now-or-never deals."

"She works really, really hard, and she's willing to listen and learn," said Mathis.

* My Charmian, who just won at the first allowance condition, has five to beat as she seeks a repeat in a six-furlong $50,000 optional claimer Friday at Bay Meadows. Icy Choice, who won at this level two back and then was second in her last start, and Better Daze, third behind Icy Choice last time, are the primary rivals.