(Edited press release)
This year’s Emirates Airline Dubai World Cup (UAE-I)-winning jockey Aaron Gryder will move his tack to Hong Kong Nov. 14.
“I am very excited and honored that I have been invited to ride for the Hong Kong Jockey Club," said Gryder, 39. "It's a big move. California is my home, and my children, Grace (7) and Christian (9) will be here, but I still have so much passion for the game and a desire to win at the highest level.
“Racing in Hong Kong will give me a chance to ride many more great horses. The Hong Kong Jockey Club has high standards and I'm thankful to them for affording me this wonderful opportunity."
Officials observed Gryder riding at Happy Valley and Sha Tin during a two-week period in June, not long after he had ridden Well Armed to a 14-length victory in the $6 million Dubai World Cup. Soon afterwards he was invited to compete under contract for the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
“Aaron Gryder has demonstrated consistent success in New York, California, and Chicago for many years,” said Bill Nader, executive director of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. “This year he stepped up and won the Dubai World Cup, and he has always handled himself as a true professional. It will be great to have an American presence among a strong group of local and international jockeys riding in Hong Kong.”
Gryder began his career in 1987 and won his first race Jan. 18 aboard Ragen Henry at Agua Caliente. He was the leading rider at Hollywood Park as an apprentice in 1987. Since then, he has won numerous riding titles at top-level tracks across the United States. He returned to California to ride full time in 2006 and then joined forces with the Southern California-based Eoin Harty, trainer of Well Armed.
“Moving back to California was the best professional decision I ever made," said Gryder. "It gave me a chance to ride one of the best horses in the world for Eoin Harty and WinStar Farm and helped me secure my win in the Dubai World Cup aboard Well Armed."
Gryder’s 14-length victory in the Dubai World Cup was the largest margin of victory in the history of the race.
Gryder won his 3,000th race on Pressthepace at Santa Anita March 3, 2007. Through Nov. 8, he has ridden more than 25,000 races, with 3,194 winners and purse earnings of $109,494,360.