10/08/2003 12:00AM

Alvarado comes back refreshed

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - For jockey Frank Alvarado, a working vacation this summer worked wonders.

Alvarado has returned to riding full-time at Bay Meadows after spending the summer at Hollywood Park and Del Mar.

"You have to ride horses at 100 percent," said Alvarado, a 34-year-old native of Panama. "When I left here in June, my head was not 100 percent right. Now, I'm ready to ride seven days a week."

Alvarado has more than 2,000 victories in a career that began in 1984.

He has ridden with success in Florida, Southern California, New York, and northern California since arriving in the United States in 1990.

He has made northern California his home base since 2000 and has consistently finished among the top five riders at the tracks in this region.

Alvarado rode two winners here in his first week and has only one mount on Friday's card, Marged's Dream in a $16,000 claimer at six furlongs for 3-year-old fillies.

Alvarado was fifth in the standings at the 2002-03 Golden Gate Fields meet with 51 winners. He finished sixth with 31 winners at the spring Bay Meadows meet despite heading south before the end off the meeting.

Alvarado made occasional trips back to northern California to ride specific horses. He won the Foster City Handicap with Handyman Bill at Bay Meadows on June 15 and rode A B Noodle at both Pleasanton and Santa Rosa.

"I had a good summer," he said. "I played a lot of golf when I wasn't riding. I had a good time."