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Barretts at Fairplex: Gryder dressed for success
By Brad Free
POMONA, Calif. – Have saddle, will travel.
One problem: Jockey Aaron Gryder did not have a saddle. He also did not have riding pants.
Gryder, currently third-leading rider at Hastings Park and among the most well-liked jockeys locally, was home visiting in Southern California last week when he was offered the chance to ride a weekend card in the Virgin Islands.
That would be a challenge without tack. Gryder turned to a friend, jockey Mike Smith, and told him his riding equipment was up at Hastings. Smith asked what Gryder needed.
“I said I need some pants.” And so Smith gave Gryder some pants. He asked what else Gryder needed. “I need a saddle,” he said. Smith had just the right one.
“He went and got a saddle that he bought at an auction,” Gryder said. “It was one of the saddles Steve Cauthen used winning the Epsom Derby,” Gryder said.
Cauthen won on Slip Anchor in 1985 and Reference Point in 1987.
Gryder traveled to St. Thomas, won all four races he rode, then returned to Southern California where he began riding this week at the Barretts at Fairplex meet. He will continue to ride weekends at Hastings.
“I have Hall of Fame pants on, a Hall of Fame saddle, and I got lucky and picked up four mounts [Wednesday],” Gryder said.
Gryder could get luckier still on Sunday, when he rides Clubhouse Ride in the $100,000 Ralph M. Hinds Pomona Handicap. The following weekend he will return to Hastings, where he entered the weekend with 44 winners from 215 mounts. He will return this fall full time to Southern California.
Hastings and Barretts are both five-furlong tracks, but Gryder said they are different.
“Hastings has a much shorter stretch,” he said. “It’s only an eighth of a mile straightaway and the turns are like riding at Belmont. They’re so wide it’s almost like you’re riding in a circle.
“Here, it’s a longer stretch,” he said of Barretts. “You get running, and then the turns are sharper.”
Gryder, 43, scored the biggest win of his career riding Well Armed to victory in the $6 million Dubai World Cup in 2009.
Bettor hits for $161K
It cost one lucky bettor $1,080 to nail the $161,348 pick six Thursday at Barretts after a two-day carryover attracted new money of $154,414. The carryover into Thursday was $80,303. Only two horses were covered in the final race, including winner Tribal Mystic. The winning payoffs in the sequence were $3.60, $14.80, $29.60, $18, $18.80 and $6.40.
According to officials at Barretts, the ticket was purchased at The Finish Line Grill, the simulcast facility on the Barretts grounds, where auctions also are held. The unidentified bettor cashed the ticket Thursday.
Meet handle on decline
Handle at Barretts was down 13.5 percent from the previous year heading into the final three days of racing. The first 10 days of the meet, total handle was $40,002,892. During the comparable period in 2012, handle was $46,246,204. The biggest decline this meet has been out-of-state handle, which includes account wagering. Out-of-state handle was down 24.8 percent from a year ago.
◗ Thursday marked the third straight racing day jockey Martin Pedroza did not ride, yet the track’s all-time leading rider maintained an 18-15 lead over Edwin Maldonado going into Friday. Pedroza was banged up Sept. 14 in a spill, rode and won a race later that day, then missed his next three days of riding. Pedroza was expected to ride Friday.
◗ Former jockey Goncalino Almeida scored his first career win as a trainer on Thursday at Barretts. Monstro Ness ($6), a 2-year-old maiden filly, won the first race under apprentice Gonzalo Nicolas.
Almeida, 57, retired from riding in late 2012 and began training in early 2013. Monstro Ness was his 31st starter.
◗ Jockey Vinnie Bednar is serving a 30-day suspension from Sept. 7 through Oct. 6 after testing positive for methamphetamines and amphetamines, according to a stewards’ ruling. Bednar, 21, was recently riding at Los Alamitos. He has won 72 Thoroughbred races.
Nice to see the amount of the ticket it took to hit the pick 6 .even if 10 guys pooled 108 each nice score
A big reason that out of state handle is down is because of the hair brain decision to send the horses to post before post-time (only track in America that does that). That is consistently done this year at Fairplex.. Only track I know of that does that. My handle is a 10th of what it normally is at that track simply due to that reason alone. I like going to post promptly at post-time, but not before post-time even reads 0. That is absolutely a terrible management decision.
I watched Gryder for years, and he has limitations as a jock. That's probably why he didn't stay in SoCal on a permanent basis. He was able to go elsewhere like NJ, NY, & Chicago to win a lot of races.
Never understood why Gryder doesn't get more mounts. Not saying he's the quality of Smith, Bejarano, Maldonado, etc., but he's certainly capable of being in the top 6 or 7 at any meet in So Cal. Hope he gets enough business at SA in the fall to stay there.
Mike Smith is first class all the way! Just about gave him the shirt off his back!
Mike Smith is first class all the way! A very nice thing to do, just about gave him the shirt off his back!
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