12/17/2004 12:00AM

Fallon will ride at Gulf


MIAMI - Seven-time British riding champion Kieren Fallon will switch his tack to south Florida after Christmas and plans to ride regularly this winter at Gulfstream Park.

Fallon, 39, will have his riding engagements handled in the U.S. by jockey agent Ron Anderson, who also works for Hall of Fame rider Jerry Bailey.

"Kieren will be here the day after Christmas and will ride a horse for [trainer] Pat Byrne in the Tropical Park Derby at Calder on New Year's Day," Anderson said. "He said he just thought it was time for a change."

Anderson said Fallon will spend the entire winter at Gulfstream Park and that he could stay in the U.S. when the meet ends, depending on how things develop.

Fallon, the regular rider for Michael Stoute, was the British jockey champion from 1997-2003 but lost the title this year to Frankie Dettori. The Irish-born Fallon has won the last two Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf races, aboard Islington and Ouija Board.

Fallon was involved in race-fixing allegations earlier this year in Great Britain, but the Jockey Club there earlier this week handed down a decision to drop the inquiry.

"I've always maintained my innocence, but the pressure on me during the past few months has been colossal," Fallon said in a published report.