12/02/2005 12:00AM

Romans maintains presence in N.Y.


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Dale Romans said he believes that in order "to be a major player on the national scene" a trainer needs to maintain a year-round presence in New York. So, for the first time, Romans will keep horses in New York for Aqueduct's inner-track meet.

"It fits in the program," said Romans, who will have 18 horses stabled at Belmont with assistant Dave Cannizzo. "We need to make a little more money in the first quarter than we have in years past. With no Fair Grounds, [stalls] are tight everywhere. I wanted to be stabled year-round in New York for a long time. This gives me a good opportunity to do it."

Romans had the first part of 2005 interrupted by a case of strangles in his barn, which limited his number of starters and wins during the first four months. His stable bounced back in second half of the year, as his earnings are slightly less than $8 million, ninth in the country.

Romans was in the process of finalizing which horses would stay in New York and which will head to south Florida. Among those that are definitely coming to New York are recent Churchill Downs allowance winners Exciting Metro and Smoke Warning, New York-bred maiden winner Legs Benedict, and

2-year-old New York-bred maiden colt Lethal Missile. Romans said Exciting Metro is a candidate for the Grade 3 Gravesend Handicap here on Dec. 18.

One horse who won't be staying in New York is Sharp Humor, winner of the Bertram F. Bongard and the Sleepy Hollow. Romans said Sharp Humor will resume training on Jan. 1 and will be tried against open company in south Florida.

Morales out until Dec. 14

Apprentice jockey Pablo Morales has a deep bruise in his right rotator cuff and will be out until Dec. 14, his agent, Richie DePass Jr., said Friday.

Morales was injured in a spill here on Nov. 25 in which his horse, Pavlina, fell as part of a three-horse spill. Morales rode one race each on Sunday and Wednesday before taking off the remainder of his mounts both days. Morales had planned to take the remainder of this week off while consulting with an orthopedist.

Though he has no breaks or tears in his shoulder, Morales has complained of pain when he tried to use his whip aggressively.

Morales was the leading apprentice at both the Belmont and Aqueduct fall meetings.

Gryder moving tack to California

Aaron Gryder will ride his last day in New York on Sunday, after which he will pack up his belongings and his family and head to California, the state where his riding career began 18 years ago.

Gryder, 35, said he plans to start riding in California with the beginning of the Santa Anita meet on Dec. 26. He will be represented by Nick Cosato.

Gryder will be at Santa Anita on Monday and Tuesday to meet trainers and work horses. He will return to New York to ride for one week, then will ride the middle of this month in Saudi Arabia before returning to Southern California on Dec. 20 to prepare for Santa Anita's meet, Cosato said.

Gryder's career began in Southern California, where in 1987 he became the first apprentice to win a riding title at Hollywood Park. Gryder's family, as well as that of his wife, Karen, all live in California. The couple has two children, ages 3 and 5.

"I know my family would want to go back there, and the opportunities have opened up more than ever since I left 17 years ago," said Gryder, referring to a rash of retirements on the Southern California circuit in the last few years.

Since leaving California, Gryder bounced around among New Jersey, New York, and Chicago. He is a two-time riding champion at Churchill Downs and won three consecutive Aqueduct inner-track titles (1999-2001).

City Zip all over East View

Though he no longer stands at stud in New York, City Zip still has a presence in the statebred ranks. Three of the 10 New York-bred juvenile fillies entered in Sunday's $75,000 East View Stakes are progeny of City Zip.

That includes Motor City Mama, trained by Linda Rice, who also trained City Zip during his brilliant career. Other progeny of City Zip in the field are She's Got Zip and Zippy Missy.

All three runners will try to negotiate two turns and 1 1/16 miles, something City Zip never did during a career in which he won 9 of 23 starts and earned more than $800,000. City Zip was best known as a sprinter, sweeping all three 2-year-olds stakes at Saratoga and winning a couple of sprint stakes as a 3-year-old. City Zip, a half-brother to 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, did finish first in the Grade 1 Futurity at one mile, but was disqualified and placed second.

Motor City Mama has won her last two starts, both at six furlongs, and Rice is confident her filly can stretch out.

"She's a big, scopy filly," Rice said. "Conformation-wise, I think she has a good chance to stretch out. We're going to have to prove it."

Upon his retirement, City Zip entered stud at Gus Schoenborn's Contemporary Stallions. In December 2004, he was moved to Lane's End Farm in Kentucky, where he will stand the upcoming breeding season for $15,000.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman