02/05/2007 1:00AM

Silk Kerchief heads turf mile


ARCADIA, Calif. - Jockey William Antongeorgi III lost his apprentice allowance on Sunday, but it does not seem to have hurt his business.

On Wednesday's eight-race program at Santa Anita, Antongeorgi has six mounts, including top contender Silk Kerchief in the featured $59,000 allowance race. Silk Kerchief and Antongeorgi are old friends. Antongeorgi guided Silk Kerchief to two victories in allowance races in late 2006.

"She is one of my favorite fillies to ride," Antongeorgi said on Sunday. "Hopefully, we can keep it going."

Silk Kerchief will start from the rail in the one-mile turf race, which has drawn an oversubscribed 10 entries. Because the temporary turf rails are 30 feet from the permanent position, the field will be limited to eight starters.

Silk Kerchief won an allowance race for California-breds at Hollywood Park on Nov. 30 and an allowance race against open company at a mile on turf here on Dec. 26. A winner of 4 of 16 starts, Silk Kerchief is owned by Dan Agnew and trained by Jerry Fanning.

In Wednesday's allowance race, Silk Kerchief's main rivals are Vanguarda, who was sixth in the Grade 3 Monrovia Handicap on Jan. 1; Rapid Transaction, an import from France; and Bosset and Make Mine Minnie, who were second and third in an allowance race on Jan. 18.

Through Sunday, Antongeorgi was ranked seventh in the jockey standings with 12 wins. He struggled for mounts for much of 2006 but has seen business improve in the last three months.

"It's been going great," he said. "My first five or six months with my bug was slow. It was tough to break in, but everyone has given me a shot.

"I haven't looked at losing my bug with any apprehension. Hopefully things can get off to a good start."

Wednesday's eight-race program will begin with a $55,000 allowance race for California-bred fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Antongeorgi will ride Madame Blackfoot, who won a starter allowance at a mile on turf on Jan.o11. Madame Blackfoot ran in maiden claiming races in early 2006.

The field is led by Nashoba's Key, a sharp-looking winner of a maiden race in her career debut on Jan. 13.

She will be ridden by Garrett Gomez, who was granted a temporary restraining order to ride on Wednesday. The program was supposed to be the start of a five-day suspension for Gomez, for causing interference in a race on Jan. 28. In that race, he bumped Antongeorgi's mount, and unseated the then-apprentice jockey.