10/20/2008 11:00PM

Wade leaving jocks' room for classroom


Most teenagers can't wait to get out of high school. Lyndie Wade, on the other hand, is eager to get back to class.

Wade, a 17-year-old apprentice jockey, said Tuesday that he has stopped riding and will head back to high school in hopes of earning his diploma in a couple years.

His last mount came Saturday when he rode Really Rob to a seventh-place finish in the 10th race at Hawthorne Race Course.

His decision to quit riding was mostly the result of his growing frame, he said. He is 5 foot 8 inches and he anticipates growing further, making him question if he could manage his weight in the years ahead.

"I don't want to be 20 and be like, what do I do now?" he said. "I want to be able to get into something. I am at the point where I want more than the racetrack. I want to finish high school and get a regular job."

Although his riding career ended early, he can consider himself fortunate. He rode 120 winners from 1,095 mounts over his two-year career, and survived a frightening spill at Hawthorne last fall that resulted in him being placed in a medically induced coma to prevent his brain from swelling.

He recovered and experienced a rewarding summer, capped by finishing second in the Ellis Park rider standings behind Victor Lebron.

Things began to slow for him at Hawthorne this fall, with Wade winning just 5 races from 74 mounts. He said his quiet meet was not the reason for handing up his tack.

"It wasn't a last-minute decision," he said. "I've been gradually thinking about it, even when I was doing good. I can't blame it on not going good."

Wade said he will miss being around racehorses, but acknowledged that the rigors of being a jockey at 17 years of age had worn thin.

"Some people want it and some don't," he said. "I did want it . . . I don't anymore."

Chihulykee has the edge

A full field of 12, plus one also-eligible, has been assembled for Thursday's featured ninth race at Hawthorne, a $32,000 third-level allowance with an optional $40,000 claiming condition.

A 5 1/2-furlong turf dash, the ninth race plays to the strength of Chihulykee, an accomplished grass sprinter who finished second in the Don Ciccio Stakes at Hawthorne in his one start this meet. Before that race, he had won a $50,000 claimer going five furlongs on turf at Arlington.

Francisco Torres rides for trainer Wayne Catalano and owner Frank Calabrese.

If inclement weather results in the race being moved to the main track - and the forecast as of Tuesday afternoon called for a threat of showers on Thursday - Castles in the Sky, riding a three-race win streak over dirt and synthetic tracks, could prove dangerous.