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Horse Racing | HORSE RACING

Baze Raises His Win Total to 8,000

October 27, 2002|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

On a day when thoroughbred racing's eyes were focused thousands of miles east, jockey Russell Baze made some history at Bay Meadows.

The man who dominates the standings annually in Northern California became the fourth rider to win 8,000 races, joining Laffit Pincay Jr., Bill Shoemaker and Pat Day.

Baze, 44, earned the milestone victory on Ourwhistlebritches, a 2-year-old daughter of Roar who was making her first start for owner Jim McGee and trainer Bill Morey.

The 5-2 favorite in the field of 10 $20,000 maidens, Ourwhistlebritches quickly sprinted clear under Baze and was never seriously challenged.

Baze, who won No. 7,999 earlier with sixth-race favorite Viva's Pride, became the youngest jockey to reach 8,000. Pincay was 46, Day was 47 and Shoemaker, the first to 8,000, was 49.

Baze, a native of Vancouver, Canada who long ago clinched his 28th riding title at Bay Meadows, rode his first winner -- Oregon Warrior -- for his father on Sept. 16, 1974, at Yakima.

"I just want to say it has been a wonderful ride up until now," Baze said during a brief winner's circle ceremony after the race. "I've got a lot more years left in me, so it will be fun to see what happens the rest of the way."

By the time he is finished, Baze could wind up passing all of those ahead of him on the list. Pincay, who won once Saturday at Santa Anita, leads with 9,439; Shoemaker, who retired in 1990, has 8,833; and Day has 8,339. The retired David Gall is fifth with 7,396 victories.

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Shine Again once again showed her affinity for wet tracks with a two-length victory over 9-1 shot Redheat Riot and three others in the $150,000 First Flight Handicap at Aqueduct.

Owned by the Bohemia Stable and trained by Allen Jerkens, the 13-10 second choice and defending champion in the Grade II saved ground throughout under jockey Jean-Luc Samyn, came through an opening along the rail and drew clear. She completed the seven furlongs in 1:23 3/5 over the sloppy surface. She has won four of six on off tracks and the win was her seventh in 25 starts.

"I was a little surprised he went inside with her," said Jerkens. "Things could have gotten a little hairy down there, but everything worked out. If she's going to run next year, that's probably it for [2002]. If they breed her next year, she'll probably run in the Top Flight," a $150,000 race Nov. 29 at Aqueduct.

Raging Fever, the 11-10 favorite in a field reduced with the scratches of Nonsuch Bay and Shiny Band, who would have raced coupled with the winner, finished third.

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Tenpins, the 1-2 favorite, rolled to a 1 3/4-length victory over X Country and two others in the $156,122 Fayette Stakes, the closing-day feature at Keeneland.

A 4-year-old son of Smart Strike, Tenpins won for the seventh time in 10 starts for owner Joe Vitello and trainer Don Winfree. Craig Perret was the winning rider and Tenpins completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51 on the muddy track.

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