The victory in the $25,000 maiden claiming event for older horses snapped a 23-race losing streak since Gryder drew to within one win of the milestone achievement.
"It feels great," said the 36-year-old Gryder. "It gives me a chance to reflect back on all of the great races I have been fortunate enough to win." A native of West Covina, Calif., Gryder returned to competition in Southern California late last season after 12 years in the East. He was joined in the winner's circle by fellow jockeys Jon Court and Richard Migliore and his grandmother, among others.
“It’s fun to do it here in front of the mountains where I grew up,” Gryder said. He said he knew from the time he was 3 or 4 that he wanted to be a jockey. "It was the the only job for me," he said.
Gryder rode his first winner, Ragin Henry, at Caliente in Mexico on Jan. 18, 1987. Two years later, he became the only apprentice jockey to lead a Hollywood Park meeting when victorious in 31 races at the track’s fall meet. He won a career-best 211 races in 1991, but his most productive year was 1998 when his mounts earned more than $8.8 million including five graded stakes. Gryder has won 27 races at the current Santa Anita meet to rank fourth, 39 victories behind leader Gomez.
Grade I triumphs include the 1987 Matriarch on Asteroid Field at Hollywood Park -- his first graded stakes win -- and the '88 Beverly Hills Handicap with Fitzwilliam Place, also at Hollywood, and in 1992, both the Hopeful aboard Great Navigator at Saratoga and the Super Derby with Senor Tomas. Gryder has nine riding titles to his credit, the last coming at Aqueduct during the 2001 inner track stand.
The milestone win came in a 5 1/2-furlong event. Pressthepace sped to the lead and won clear by 2 3/4 lengths under left-handed urging for trainer Anthony Saavedra. The winner paid $19.60.