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Tommy Wolski's Sport of Kings TV - Tommy's weekly column from the province newspaper

Hosstalk - October 11, 2013

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Alvarado's transition smooth; Experience: Having always been around horses makes it easy for former jockey

Date: October 11, 2013
Section : Sports
Page : A40
Byline: Tom Wolski
Column: Hoss Talk
Source: The Province


Illustration:
• Gerry Kahrmann, PNG files / Pedro Alvarado tosses his riding crop after winning the Redekop B.C. Cup Classic at Hastings Racecourse in 2010. After retiring as a jockey after last season, Alvarado has made a quick transition and is now
Illustration: • Gerry Kahrmann, PNG files / Pedro Alvarado tosses his riding crop after winning the Redekop B.C. Cup Classic at Hastings Racecourse in 2010. After retiring as a jockey after last season, Alvarado has made a quick transition and is now

Alvarado's transition smooth; Experience: Having always been around horses makes it easy for former jockey

This year at Hastings Racecourse former jockey Pedro Alvarado has done something not often seen in horse racing. He has made the transition from being a retired top rider to a successful trainer.

When a jockey is at the top of his game, the only thing on his mind is his next ride. There is not enough time to understand the inner workings of a race horse. It's go, go, go. Which is what Alvarado understood growing up in Mexico with four brothers involved in the sport.

"We were always around horses," said Alvarado. "From morning to night we lived with horses. We walked them, groomed them and rode them. As I look back, it was this foundation that prepared me to move on from riding horses to training them."

When he retired last fall, Alvarado was confident he would make it as a good trainer.

"I just figured," Alvarado says, "that I knew more about horses

than many of the trainers. I had ridden winners for over the years and that was a confidence-builder."

Yet like any novice trainer starting out, he needed some horses to start his stable. He approached Jim Macaisic and became a partner.

"We put up $10,000," said Alvarado. "We went out and purchased three horses to help us get started and all three won, helping us to get off to a fast start. Now we're hoping to close out the meet this weekend with a few wins."

Like riding, Alvarado has discovered it's another case of go, go, go.

SIMPLY AMAZING: It was back in 1981 when trainer Rosann Anderson first began racing a small stable at Exhibition Park. It was during that time her stable won 77 races from 526 starts.

In almost a complete reversal of form, this season Anderson's barn has won 11 races from 20 starts for a 55 per cent winning percentage with an astonishing 80 per cent in-the-money rating. That's good enough to draw praise from peers and racing fans.

Asked what's different from then to now, she said: "For years I trained horses nobody wanted. Now I'm have training horses everyone wants, it's that simple."

MAJOR UPGRADES: Several racetrack owners are now putting more money back into the sport for upgrades, allowing fans a better experience.

Stronach Group, operators of

Santa Anita Park, Calif., are in the midst of a $15-million renovation to that racetrack ... Management at Churchill Downs are putting up a $12-million project to install a 15,224-square-foot, high-definition video board. They are hoping to have it up and ready for the 2014 Kentucky Derby.

NOTES ON A PROGRAM: Four major stake races that could have an impact on several season-ending equine categories close out the Hastings season Monday: the $100,000 Ballerina, $100,000 B.C. Premiers, $75,000 Fantasy and $75,000 Ascot Graduation ... Nice to see former Hastings jockeys Aaron Gryder and Mario Gutierrez, owner Sid Belzberg and trainer Janet Armstrong connecting with winners at Santa Anita ... Worth acknowledging, Melanie Walters in her first full season as a trainer at Hastings won 14 races from 52 starts with a 27 per cent winning percentage.

twolski@shaw.ca twitter.com/sportofkingstv

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