Junior Alvarado, a mainstay at New York racetracks for the past decade, has decided to stick around following the April 3 conclusion of the Championship Meet to ride year-round at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
“I’ve been riding the last 10 years in New York. There’s a tough colony there. I just think moving here year-round is a good move to win races,” the 36-year-old Venezuela-born jockey said Thursday after recording his 48th victory of the Championship Meet aboard Kodama ($9) in Race 4. “For the family, I think it’s the right time to settle in beautiful Florida.”
Alvarado, who won his first race in Venezuela in 2005, rode his first winner in the U.S. at Gulfstream on Feb. 17, 2007. He ventured to Chicago-area tracks in 2008 and split his time between Chicago and New York in 2010 and 2011. He began riding in New York year-round in 2012. Alvarado has ridden at Gulfstream Park during the last three Championship Meets before riding the rest of the year in New York.
“In 2007, that was the first year I came here. I stayed year-round and then in 2008 in May I made my move to Chicago,” Alvarado said. “I like it here, but my business in New York was too good to leave. I think it’s perfect timing now to move here.”
Alvarado, who has ridden the winners of 1907 races and $109 million in purses, ranks sixth in wins and fifth in purses-earned this season at Gulfstream Park.