07/24/2002 12:00AM

Perkinson wears many hats

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Over the years C.C. Perkinson has had a variety of jobs, but the ones she has liked best have involved horses.

Riding was her love, starting when she began exercising horses in Washington and later when she became a jockey.

She enjoyed moderate success on the fair circuit, particularly two years ago when she helped train several of the better horses she rode. That led her to turn in her jockey's license and become a trainer in spring 2001.

Perkinson has returned to riding and she has also found a new niche that could keep her connected to racing for years to come: analyst for weekend TVG telecasts from Los Alamitos.

While working in front of a camera may be her long-range future, Perkinson is trying to make the most of her limited mounts on the northern California fair circuit.

"I'm glad to be back riding," she said. "I missed it. I love it although it's often frustrating."

Perkinson put her all into training, preparing young horses both for sales and racing. A former nutritionist and personal trainer, she was particularly conscious of her horses' diets. But, she said, "I just couldn't get any good stock" and returned to riding.

"The other riders welcomed me right back into it," she said. "It makes me feel good."

She is still waiting for her first mount at the Santa Rosa County Fair after serving a suspension last week at Vallejo.

She will not ride Friday, Saturday, or Sunday at Santa Rosa because she will be doing her television work. She is excited about the on-air possibilities - "It could escalate into something," she said.

"I talk about the races from the trainer's and rider's point of view. I handicap and do picks, and we're adding some pre- and post-race interviews. It's really geared to the fans."

Meanwhile, she's also trying to line up more mounts. "I have to build the trust and confidence of the trainers," she said.

Fillies and mares in spotlight

A field of eight older fillies and mares will meet in Friday's featured six-furlong allowance race.

Competitors include Bright Little Star, a winner of two straight; Endearment, who is coming off a victory; and the entry of Emerald Pendant and Rich Domino from the Jerry Hollendorfer barn. Bright Little Star was claimed from Hollendorfer from a victory in a $12,500 claimer two back, while Endearment was claimed from Hollendorfer when she won a $20,000 claimer in her last start.