12/23/2001 1:00AM

Hot apprentice starts five-day suspension


ALBANY, Calif. - An eight-day Christmas break ends Wednesday at Golden Gate Fields with trainers having entered 84 horses to run on a nine-race card.

Two jockey names were missing, leading rider Russell Baze and hot apprentice Kevin Krigger. Baze is taking the day off by choice. Krigger had no choice.

Krigger will begin serving a five-day suspension after being given days for his ride on Admiral's Cap in the first race on Dec. 16.

Krigger was cited for crossing over without sufficient clearance and causing interference in the clubhouse turn. There was no inquiry after the race as Admiral's Cap finished second.

The suspension is Krigger's second since arriving at Golden Gate Fields on Nov. 28 from Thistledown in Ohio. He received three days after his ride aboard Rubin's Pride on Dec. 1 caused the horse to be disqualified from first and placed third after he drifted out in the lane.

Steward Darrel McHargue explained Krigger was given a five-day suspension because the infraction was similar to the one he committed aboard Rubin's Pride and came so close to the first suspension.

Krigger has won 11 races in three weeks at Golden Gate Fields. Only Baze has ridden more winners during the same period.

Krigger began his career in August at Thistledown and already had 55 career victories when he came to California. He was second in the standings at Thistledown's Cranwood meeting when he left for California.

He rode at Thistledown on Dec. 19, with one second in four mounts, before returning home to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, for Christmas.

Krigger's agent, Boone McCanna, was concerned about the two suspensions. "He's been here three weeks and been suspended twice. He was never suspended at Thistledown," McCanna said. "A five-day suspension on top of an eight-day break is like a two-week suspension."