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Jockey Junior Alvarado after winning the 2022 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile aboard Cody's Wish.
Jockey Junior Alvarado, a native of Venezuela, notched career win number 2000 in the fifth race at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, January 21 aboard 11-4 second choice Broadway Force for trainer Jimmy Jerkens in a maiden special weight for older fillies and mares. The 36-year-old grew up as the son of a jockey, and won his first race in December 2005 before moving his tack to Florida and getting his first U.S. win in February 2007 at Gulfstream Park. He reached the milestone just a day after fellow rider Tyler Gaffalione hit his 2000th over the same track.
After the 2000th win (after getting win 1999 on the 18th) he said, "It’s been an amazing career. There have been ups and downs with injuries and everything, but I wouldn’t have it any different way. A Grade 1 or a claiming race, I'm grateful for each win. I don't take anything for granted. It seems like a whole year since winning a race. I wanted it so bad. It seems like I was riding against 10 horses for each horse I was riding. Maybe I was over-trying. Today, I had a mindset to take it race by race, take it easy and not overdo anything."
Junior Alvarado after winning the 2010 Beverly D aboard Eclair de Lune.
Asked about his most memorable win, he recalled his first Grade 1 win aboard Eclair de Lune in the 2010 Beverly D Stakes at Arlington Park for the late Richard Duchossois, chairman of the track who died a year ago at age 100. He said, "I knew the meaning of it for Mr. Duchossois. I was happy for myself for winning my first Grade 1, but getting it done for him, that was really special. There were people crying and everything. I will never forget it."
Junior Alvarado aboard Olympiad after finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Alvarado started his American riding career at Gulfstream before moving to the Chicago circuit in 2008. In 2012 he moved his tack to New York full time, but more recently returning to Gulfstream for the Championship Meet over the winter months. At time of writing (January 24, 2023) he has a record of 2001 wins (17 Grade 1), 1800 seconds, and 1740 thirds in 12,517 starts, for a 16% win rate and 44% in the money and earnings of over $119 million. Olympiad is far and away his best horse, with $2.931 million in earnings, followed by 2013 Cigar Mile (G1) winner Flat Out with $1.083 million in earnings, and Cody's Wish with $1.068 million in earnings.
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