10/31/2005 1:00AM

Krigger here to stay


ALBANY, Calif. - Kevin Krigger, who made a strong impression as a young apprentice here in 2001 when he finished third in the jockey standings despite a string of suspensions, has returned to Golden Gate Fields.

Krigger just won the Emerald Downs riding championship for 2005 with 126 victories and earnings of $1,384,346, the highest total in the track's 10-year history.

Krigger, who rode in Southern California after riding here in 2001, said he is a better rider than he was the last time Golden Gate fans saw him. "You can say I've been able to put together what I've learned together with my experience, and I think my timing is better," he said.

A native of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Krigger said, "I'm planning to stay and make this my base as long as possible."

After his first week, Krigger is 1 for 17, but he has had his horses in contention in most races. He is getting lots of rides from trainers shipping down from Emerald, and working to get calls from local barns as well.

18 nominated to Silky Sullivan

Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Silky Sullivan Handicap for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf appears wide open. Eighteen were nominated, and racing secretary Sean Greely said likely favorite Chinese Dragon, unraced since winning the $100,000 Alcatraz Handicap here last May, would probably not be coming.

Eastern Sand, who lost the Oak Tree Derby by a nose, would be the probable choice if he comes. He is from the Jeff Mullins stable. Trainer Roger Stein has nominated stakes winners Alexandersrun and Positive Prize. Stakes-winning Follow the Rainbow, from Bob Baffert's barn, is also nominated.

Baze rides Girl Warrior to dead heat

It wasn't a lost weekend for jockey Russell Baze, who finished seventh on Lost in the Fog in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Sprint. On Sunday, Baze rode Girl Warrior, who dead-heated with Uninhibited Song for the win in the $100,000 Miss America Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

"That takes a little sting out of it," he said, referring to Lost in the Fog's defeat.

Girl Warrior got first run, sticking her head in front in the lane, while Uninhibited Song had to wait for an opening behind a wall of four horses into the lane. She made a quick move when an opening appeared, and the two battled gamely to the wire.

* Wednesday's card is highlighted by a one-mile maiden race on the turf that includes Customer, who tried the El Camino Real Derby and Santa Anita Derby earlier this year.