07/14/2010 6:38PM

Gryder eyes options before Remington meet

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GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Jockey Aaron Gryder is taking the overland route to his next base, Remington Park, after the close of the current Lone Star Park meet Sunday. He could spend a little time riding in Southern California and France before he gets settled in at Remington, the Oklahoma City track that won’t begin its meet until Aug. 19.

“My plans are to head back to California on Sunday,” Gryder said. “I’ll see my kids, play around at Del Mar some. If I ride a few horses, that would be great. I also had a trainer call me from South Africa asking me if I was available to go to France at the end of the month. We’ll take a look at that.”

Gryder has ridden overseas a good deal recently. He won the $6 million Dubai World Cup aboard Well Armed in March 2009, then was invited to ride in Hong Kong last November. Gryder returned to North America this past spring and rode the final six days of the Oaklawn meet at the request of the track’s leading trainer, Steve Asmussen.

Gryder won nine races during the close of Oaklawn, then came to Lone Star on behalf of Asmussen. The trainer also is the force behind Gryder’s move to Oklahoma.

“Steve asked me to go to Remington, so that’s where I’ll head,” Gryder said. “I’ve never been based there. I’ve ridden there in and out. I’m looking forward to it. I’m always excited to ride for Steve. I’m excited to win races.”

Gryder came to Lone Star three weeks into the meet and is tied for fifth in the standings with Bobby Walker Jr., who also is headed to Remington to base at the track for the first time in 15 years. Gryder, who had 36 wins here through Wednesday, has collected riding titles at such tracks as Aqueduct, Arlington Park, Churchill Downs, and Hollywood Park.

“I’ve enjoyed everywhere I’ve ever gone,” he said. “As long as I find the winner’s circle, it’s a comfortable place.”

Dates consolidation to be discussed Friday

The Texas Racing Commission’s committee on dates will have a meeting Friday at Lone Star in which interested parties can comment on proposals by the state’s tracks to consolidate the racing calendar for 2011. The meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. Central, in the Champions room on the second floor of the grandstand. Comments will be heard during a designated period, and those who wish to address the committee must sign in to speak. A second committee meeting will be held at Sam Houston on Aug. 13.

The deadline for Texas tracks to submit their dates requests to the commission is Aug. 18. The panel could award dates at its meeting on Sept. 14.

Texas has seen a sharp drop in handle over the past several years, and to address the situation the state’s tracks have been looking to consolidate dates for 2011 while seeking some legislative relief. There is no casino gaming or off-track betting in Texas, which is surrounded by states that have different forms of gaming that supplement their purses. Texas has been losing ground to those racing programs, and for months the tracks have been meeting with representatives of the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership to discuss a consolidation plan for next year. The most notable is to run a 60-date spring Thoroughbred meet at Lone Star with an enhanced purse structure of $230,000 a day, with some of those funds coming from the purse accounts at Sam Houston and Retama. In turn, there could be limited Thoroughbred opportunities next year at both Sam Houston and Retama. Any plan is subject to approval from the commission.