11/30/2001 1:00AM

Krigger's star on the rise

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ALBANY, Calif. - Eighteen-year-old apprentice jockey Kevin Krigger is earning the respect of Golden Gate Fields trainers.

Krigger is not listed on a mount for Sunday's running of the $55,000-added Moment to Buy Handicap, but he was listed to ride Today a Star in Saturday's Albany Handicap.

Krigger, a native of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, won his first race at Golden Gate Fields on Friday. He cut the corner on the far turn inside Russell Baze (aboard favored Pearls N Lace) as he guided Angel's Touch to a victory in the opening race.

Krigger has been an overnight sensation since coming to the mainland United States in mid-August and making his riding debut at Thistledown. He officially won his first race on Aug. 31 and recorded 53 victories before coming to northern California. When he left Ohio, he was second in the Thistledown standings for the Cranwood Meeting.

Krigger's agent, Boone McCanna, said agent Wayne McDonald and jockey Kevin Radke "helped me to get him out here. They said he's great."

Trainer Lonnie Arterburn, who gave Krigger his second California mount, said, "He did what I asked him. He got near the lead and looked good on the horse."

Trainer Bill McLean said he likes Krigger's manner.

"He's nice and polite, and, when he came back, he told me a little bit about the mare. He switches sticks good and looks good working horses. I think he'll do well here."

Krigger credited local jockey Julio Felix for "showing me the ropes" and Manley Acoy, who taught him about riding in St. Croix and sent him to Felix.

Krigger decided to move to northern California so he can "take my career to a higher step. I'll see different styles of riding here and learn things to do and not to do," he said.

Krigger is listed on three mounts Sunday.

Storm threatens stakes

Sunday's stakes race drew an overflow field of 11 3-year-old fillies for the 1 1/16-mile turf test, which could be moved to the main track if an expected storm hits before the race. The two weekend stakes at Golden Gate Fields had 23 entrants.

The field is headed by the top three finishers from the Sept. 15 Carmel Handicap at Bay Meadows. Co-highweight Alinga won the Carmel by a neck over Walts Wharf and Blushing Ballerina, who dead-heated for second.