06/22/2005 11:00PM

Her college days behind her, Sanguinetti learns on the job

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Boston is a college town with more than a dozen prestigious universities concentrated in the area. So it figures that apprentice jockey Anne Sanguinetti - a 24-year-old Californian with degrees in economics and Spanish from Pepperdine University - would come to this bastion of academia to further her education at Suffolk Downs.

"Ever since I was a little kid, I've told everyone that I would make my living with horses," said Sanguinetti. "I stayed in school because mostly I was a nerd and I just loved it."

Sanguinetti arrived here this spring after meeting Tammi Piermarini, the New England veteran jockey, in California, where Piermarini rode last winter. Sanguinetti had been working for trainers Dennis and Wesley Ward, who each suggested Piermarini would make a great role model, and after just a couple conversations with Piermarini in the jocks' room, Sanguinetti felt improvement right away. When the offer to head back to the East Coast came, Sanguinetti knew it would be a good idea.

"She blew me away with how good a rider she is," said Sanguinetti of Piermarini. "Just meeting her a couple times showed me things I could do better. She said her husband was an agent and that they love to ride bugs back East, and girls get a chance here. I love to go to new places, so I knew this was going to be great."

Piermarini is currently third in the Suffolk standings, while Sanguinetti has won seven times. Having dual degrees gives Sanguinetti a different skill-set than one normally finds at the racetrack, but she finds ways to apply her education every day.

"Working for Wesley really solidified my Spanish," she said. "He speaks it well, and everyone he hired at his three outfits would only speak it. I found out quickly that if I was going to know what I was supposed to do every morning, I was going to be working on it."

Sanguinetti will have her apprentice weight allowance for the entire Suffolk season. She dreams of winning big races, but having the degrees behind her helps her keep grounded.

"First, I knew I wanted to finish school before I started riding," she said. "I've known since the day I broke with a set from the gate that this was what I would do, but I just want to learn something every day and get better every day. Coming here, I think, will help me get on my way."

Tote fire cancels Rockingham card

Whenever a longshot wins, it is said to blow up the tote board. Wednesday at Rockingham Park, it actually happened.

Actually, it was a malfunction in a circuit of the message board that caused a fire and burned the 1970's-era structure, forcing the cancellation of the harness racing program until Friday.

A fire at Rockingham automatically brings up memories of the blaze that leveled the grandstand in 1980 and closed the track for three years. No one was injured in Wednesday's incident, but power to the tote board needed to be cut.

The faulty board was used to display double will-pays and group sales messages. The track will go forward without it for now. Simulcasting in the grandstand went on without interruption.