10/22/2009 11:00PM

Alvarado to have shoulder surgery


STICKNEY, Ill. - The summer of 2009 proved a surprising triumph for jockey Junior Alvarado, but since he captured the riding title at the Arlington Park meet that ended in late September, things have not gone as well. Alvarado rode She Be Wild to victory in the Arlington-Washington Lassie, but was taken off that 2-year-old filly in favor of Garrett Gomez for the Alicibiades Stakes, in which she finished second. And now, Alvarado will miss the remainder of 2009 to undergo surgery on an ailing right shoulder, his agent, Oscar Sanchez, said.

Alvarado will be operated on either Monday or Tuesday in Chicago, and will need six or eight weeks to recover from the procedure, followed by a rehabilitation period. When he returns to action, Sanchez said, it will be at Tampa Bay Downs sometime early in 2010.

Alvarado came to Arlington from Florida a virtual unknown early in the 2008 meet, and had a good summer. This year, his business was strong from the start, and he outlasted James Graham to win his first riding title.

Jockey race heating up

Meanwhile, at Hawthorne, the top of the jockey standings has grown weirdly crowded. After a hot start, Ariel Smith has come down to earth this week, and Israel Ocampo leads Smith 16-15 thanks to one six-win day. But others are catching up. Through Thursday's races, Tanner Riggs had 12 wins, while three riders - Diego Sanchez, Eddie Perez, and Tim Thornton - were on 10 wins, and three more - Jose Ferrer, Lyndie Wade, and Inez Karlsson - had nine wins.

Giant Oak still pointed for Fayette

Giant Oak worked a half-mile in 49.80 seconds on Tuesday at Hawthorne, his first breeze since a strong second-place finish in the Indiana Derby, and the colt remains on target for the Fayette Stakes on Oct. 31 at Keeneland, trainer Chris Block said Friday.

"He'll breeze back this coming Monday, and if he breezes good, and comes out of it good, we'll ship a day or two after and run him down there," said Block.

Eddie Razo, Giant Oak's regular rider in recent starts, has a return call.

Block won his second race of the Keeneland meet on Friday with 2 year-old filly Chantilly Nyla, who triumphed a day after the Block-trained, Illinois-bred 3-year-old filly Dashel was an impressive winner of an open turf-sprint allowance race.

Weather a constant factor

There is but a slight chance of rain in the area on Sunday, but even dry conditions might not be enough to keep the day's races on turf. There was heavy rain here Thursday and Thursday night, with showers forecast to continue through Saturday - no surprise for a meet that has been plagued by poor weather from the outset earlier this month.

Hawthorne handicappers should keep the conditions in mind with regard to the featured sixth race on Sunday, an entry-level allowance with a $50,000 claiming option open to 2-year-old fillies. The race is carded for 5 1/2 furlongs on turf, but stands a good chance of winding up on the main track.

Only four of the eight entrants have started on dirt, rather than a synthetic track, but only two have turf experience, and either way, guesswork may be required. The single most impressive performance in the field belongs to Deceptive Glory, who looked like any kind of filly winning her debut on July 4 at Arlington. Deceptive Glory failed to come close to producing that sort of performance in two subsequent stakes tries there, but could rebound Sunday for trainer Bret Calhoun, who has won with half his 12 starters so far this Hawthorne meet.