03/28/2003 1:00AM

Krigger making move to Calder


ALBANY, Calif. - Sunday marks the close of the Golden Gate Fields meet.

It also marks the end of jockey Kevin Krigger's California sojourn.

Krigger, a 20-year-old native of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, is heading to Florida to ride at Calder Race Course.

"Calder was my second option last year when I chose to go to Southern California to ride," he said.

Krigger arrived in the United States in August 2001 and began his riding career at Thistledown in Ohio. He rode his first winner on Aug. 31 and before heading to California in November rose to second place in the jockey standings at Thistledown's Cranwood meeting.

Despite being hit by a series of suspensions during the 2001-2002 Golden Gate Fields meet, Krigger finished fifth in jockey standings with 54 wins. He went to Hollywood Park in April 2002 and finished sixth in the standings with 27 wins.

He returned to northern California in November and as of Friday morning was tied for sixth in the standings with 42 victories.

Krigger's agent, Dennis Patterson, suggested to the jockey that he might want to ride where he has a chance to be the leading rider.

Calder was appealing to Krigger because he will be closer to home - "I can tell my mom and sister to come up for the weekend," he said - and he will be riding in a climate that is familiar to him.

"It will kind of be an open meeting," Krigger said. "The top two riders are leaving there, but I was thinking of going there anyway. Hopefully, I'll be good there and become the leading rider."

Krigger impressed the northern California racing community with both his ability and attitude.

"He has a good attitude, as good as anyone I've worked for," said Patterson, who booked mounts for Jason Lumpkins before Lumpkins moved to Kentucky in November.

"Riding in California has been a great experience," Krigger said. "I got to ride against a lot of Hall of Fame jockeys. I wouldn't have learned this much any place else. As a young rider, learning as much as you can as fast as you can helps you."

Competing against the all-star jockey colony in Southern California was something of a sink-or-swim proposition that Krigger says helped him.

"You always had to be on your toes," he said. "You have those guys, they're the best. You have to be as good as you can possibly be. You have to make as few mistakes as possible."

With Krigger gone, Patterson plans to take a break during the Bay Meadows meeting.

Capt. Fly Hook vs. five in feature

Capt. Fly Hook, who finished fourth in the Golden Gate Breeders' Cup Handicap in his last start, meets five rivals in a $62,500 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the turf in the closing-day feature.

Dream Away, who has opened big leads in his two starts over the turf here only to be caught in the lane, will be the target for Cappucino Kid and Padua's Pride early. Their pace duel could set things up for Capt. Fly Hook or Studio Time, who just earned his first American victory at Santa Anita.