11/05/2008 1:00AM

Rainy forecast complicates sprint


STICKNEY, Ill. - Hawthorne has gotten lucky in terms of weather, with very few turf races at this meet lost to wet conditions. But the luck might be running out this week. With a 90 percent chance of rain here Thursday night, the featured sixth race on Friday is in danger of being switched from 5 1/2 furlongs on grass to 5 1/2 on the main track.

That's the reason three horses in a third-level allowance also open to $50,000 claimers were entered main-track-only, and all three of them - Foxie's Boy, Big Rushlet, and Kemp - have a chance with a surface switch. On turf, Chihulykee figures to be favored, and looks like the one to beat, but the horse's quality on dirt barely is known. Chihulykee, with two wins on turf and two on synthetic, showed little in his lone dirt race, but recent workouts on the main track at Hawthorne have been fast.

"We might run him either way," trainer Wayne Catalano said. "Some turf horses handle that dirt track. When he worked the other day, that was nice and easy."

Besides those entered only for the main track, Castles in the Sky, third in a turf sprint here last out, also looks like a player with a surface switch. He's 0 for 4 in grass races, but a five-time winner on dirt, including three wet-track victories.

Holy Thursday, who hasn't raced since July, and pops up for his first claiming tag, could be a closing factor on either turf or dirt. His form improved markedly through the spring, and trainer Chris Block often wins with horses coming back from layoffs.

Fogelsonger sees quick success in Chicago

The jockey Ryan Fogelsonger had no Chicago experience, and arrived late to this meet after riding out the Presque Isle Downs season. Nonetheless, Fogelsonger appears to have caught on. Through last week's racing, he had 10 victories from his 50 Hawthorne starters - good for an eighth-place tie in the jockey standings - and won a stakes race on Saturday aboard the Christine Janks-trained Nicks.

"I've known him less than a week," Janks said. "The first one he rode for me was Friday, and I was praying that it would go well so I wouldn't be sick to my stomach Saturday. I watched the replays of races he rode prior to that, and I thought he tried hard and he placed the horses well. After I rode him, I found out he followed instructions well, too."

Fogelsonger, a Maryland native, won an Eclipse Award when he was an apprentice rider, but his five years as a journeyman have not produced the same kind of results. He went to Presque Isle this summer to shake things up, wound up riding many Steve Asmussen-trained horses there, and came to Hawthorne in great part because Asmussen has a string here, too.

"I left Maryland in the first place because racing there was going downhill," Fogelsonger said. "That was tough, because that's home."

Fogelsonger, who is represented by Michelle Barsotti, said he plans to ride the entire Hawthorne meet, which ends in January.

"In Chicago there's a lot of loyalty, which is a good thing," said Fogelsonger. "You have to work at building your business up. We had no Illinois business coming in, but things have been positive so far."

Richard's stable continues to climb

Up and up goes trainer Chris Richard. Richard had been a Tom Amoss assistant when he went out on his own in 2005. With few horses of any sort, Richard galloped his own stock and did much of the daily work around the stable just to keep his head above water. Richard won five races that year. But that total has shot forward every season since: to 23 in 2006, 48 in 2007, and so far this year, 86 victories.

Richard tied for leading trainer during the first Prairie Meadows meet this year, and won 57 races there over the summer. And he has been on fire again at Hawthorne, winning with nine of his 28 starters here this meet.

That total is especially impressive since Richard was coming off a meet where he ran as much as he could. It's not like Richard had stacks of horses lined up in various divisions here. Rather, Richard has just entered as races have come up - and kept winning anyway.

Richard, who has stock for mega-owner Maggi Moss, now has 28 horses under his care. An all-dirt trainer, going from Arkansas to Iowa to Hawthorne, he said he'll leave Chicago late in the meet to start readying for the Oaklawn season.

Success, however, has changed Richard's everyday labor.

"I stopped galloping two years ago," Richard said. "The only horse I get on now is the pony."

Torres goes to Louisiana, Alvarado to Venezuela

Changes in the jockey colony here: Cisco Torres has left for Fair Grounds, which opens next week. Torres had been represented by agent Oscar Sanchez, and Sanchez also lost his other rider, Junior Alvarado. Alvarado, who came to Arlington from Calder and gained a lot of traction on the circuit, went back to his native Venezuela to become a contract rider in Caracas. Sanchez said he is booking mounts for Florent Geroux and Joel Campbell.

Also, Israel Ocampo is back in town from Prairie Meadows, and getting decent business. And finally, T.D. Houghton arrived from Michigan and began riding here Wednesday.