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Baze Voted to Hall of Fame

April 28, 1999|BILL CHRISTINE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Joining trainer Wayne Lukas in the Racing Hall of Fame on Tuesday were jockey Russell Baze, who has won 6,500 races; two-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner Miesque, the unappreciated Exceller, and Gun Bow, who won major races on both coasts in the 1960s.

In balloting by 130 Hall of Fame voters, Miesque outpolled Winning Colors and Dance Smartly in the contemporary female category, Exceller won out over A.P. Indy and Precisionist among contemporary males, and Gun Bow topped Bald Eagle and Bowl Of Flowers for horse of yesteryear.

Baze outpolled Earlie Fires and the late Jack Westrope in the balloting for jockey. Baze, 40, is a notable addition to the shrine in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., because he competes in Northern California at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields, away from the major racing centers. Most of the jockeys in the Hall of Fame rode extensively in Southern California, New York and the Midwest.

Without riding in many major races--he's had only one mount in each of the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup--Baze has ridden at least 400 winners in each of the last seven years.

A French horse, Miesque ran only twice in the U.S., winning the Breeders' Cup Mile in 1987 and 1988. Overall, she won 12 of 16 starts and earned $2 million.

Exceller won important races in England, France and Canada before he was sent to trainer Charlie Whittingham in California. Whittingham, who died last week, prepared him for victories in the Hollywood Gold Cup, the Hollywood Turf Handicap and the Oak Tree Invitational at Santa Anita.

In 1978, Exceller rallied from 22 lengths behind and beat Triple Crown champions Seattle Slew and Affirmed in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. Yet Exceller never won an Eclipse Award. His final record was 15 wins in 33 starts and purses of $1.6 million.

Gun Bow's wins included the Strub Stakes at Santa Anita, the Whitney at Saratoga, the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park and in 1964 he won the Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont, beating Kelso, who won five horse-of-the-year titles. Gun Bow earned $798,722, winning 17 of 42 starts.

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