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Bay Area Backstretch

Krigger headed to Southern California

In a surprise and sudden decision,  jockey Kevin Krigger, currently second place in the jockey standings at Golden Gate Fields, has decided to move to southern California at the end of the current Golden Gate meet, which concludes on December 18th.

Krigger, currently 10 wins behind perennial leading rider and hall of famer Russell Baze, will head down on Sunday night to work horses during Golden Gate’s off days and will be accepting mounts on the next two Wednesdays at Hollywood Park. Wednesday are dark at Golden Gate Fields.

“ It was an overnight decision,” Krigger said Saturday between races. “ On Thursday right before I came to the races I got a phone call and when I returned the call it was (agent) Tom Knust announcing to me that they are going to announce P Vals (Patrick Valenzuela) retirement. We all know Tom Knust could have called 100 other guys, at least that’s what I feel. I think for him to call me he has to have high hopes for us down there.

“I’m just going to cross my fingers and hope to god I made the right decision. This is the biggest gamble I have ever taken, so far. In myself as a rider, I’m 100 percent confident. I haven’t talked to many people about the decision. I had to sleep on it over night.”

Knust, who had been the agent for Valenzuela before the jockey announced his retirement this week, thinks the decision to call Krigger was a no brainer.

“The last 6 or 7 months I’ve been listen to trainers down here and they have been saying a lot of positive things about him,” Knust said. “ I think Kevin is a good fit down here. When Pat was talking to me about retiring, Kevin is the first person I thought of.

Most of the time when a jockey moves tracks, its because they aren’t doing well and a lot of the times it doesn’t work for them. Kevin is riding very well and it’s a good time for him to do this. Like all jockeys he wants to be in the Kentucky Derby picture and get Breeders Cup horses and this is the place to do that. I’m excited about working with him.”

Krigger came back to Golden Gate Fields in February (he rode here as an apprentice in the beginning of his career) after taking some time off at home in the Virgin Islands. Instead of returning to Emerald Downs in Washington, where he had great success. After missing one month of the spring meet, he finished second in the standings to Baze.

This current meet, he got off to a slow start but has been hot the last month, and his feats have included a five win day and four consecutive stakes wins.

“I came here to push myself to plant roots here but when Tom called me I said you know what, hes not gong to be calling me unless he has discussed it with some of his clients. I’m ready for it. As long as I have a top agent, I can be a top rider at whatever track, whatever country. I think it’s a privilege that he called me.”



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Older Comments about Krigger headed to Southern California...

Big fish little pond...A rude awakening awaits him
Not at all. As of late, Kevin was getting top calls on many big barns and had established himself as Hollendorfers main stakes guy. Its just a matter of He thinks now is the time to try the switch since he is riding good.
Don, is do you think any of this also has to do with the fact of Baze, Gryder & Valdivia all being up there to snag a lot of top horses?

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Meet Don August

I have been involved in horse racing, from a fan to sportswriter, for the past 30 years. The first time my dad took me to the track, I picked a horse named "Black Tornado" and when he won, I was hooked.  From then on, I spent weekends and occasional school days at the race track, and my enjoyment of the sport led me to try my hand at being a jockey agent, which i did for 3 years. When that didn't work out as I had hoped, I concentrated on my writing career by covering big races and doing summer fair handicapping, off and on, for the Contra Costa Times.

Today, I stay involved in the sport by being part of a group that currently owns two horses stabled at Golden Gate Fields. As all owners, we have dreams of someday having that special horse.  Besides writing about horse racing I enjoy covering many sports and have had the honor of meeting and writing about some incredible athletes.

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