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HORSE RACING

Baze Rides Two Stakes Winners at Santa Anita

March 22, 2004|Bill Christine | Times Staff Writer

Tyler Baze rode both of the stakes winners Sunday at Santa Anita, winning the $82,500 Santa Paula with Friendly Michelle and the $75,520 El Cielo Handicap with Cayoke.

Both horses were odds-on favorites, Friendly Michelle paying $3.40 and Cayoke returning $3.60.

Friendly Michelle, owned by Ed Friendly, rebounded from a third-place finish, behind A.P. Adventure and Hollywood Story, in the Las Virgenes on Feb. 15. The Santa Paula winner was 20-1 that day.

"I went four wide, because she didn't like the dirt in her face," said Baze, who has 58 winners at the meet, third behind Alex Solis and Victor Espinoza.

Friendly Michelle, trained by Bob Baffert, was in front of only one horse after the first half-mile of the 6 1/2-furlong race.

"I wasn't worried," Baze said. "I knew I had the best horse going in. I think this filly can go two turns in the future."

Cayoke, a 7-year-old French-bred trained by Jeff Mullins, won for the first time in the U.S., in his third start.

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Mystery Giver, a 6-year-old gelding, has won only four times in 12 starts in 2003-04, but he is a different horse on grass at the Fair Grounds, where he won the $500,000 Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap by three-quarters of a length over Herculated.

Skate Away finished third and Silver Tree, the 2-1 favorite, was eighth. Trainer Bobby Frankel's horses, Burning Sun and Nothing To Lose, finished fourth and sixth, respectively. Mystery Giver, ridden by Robby Albarado for trainer Richard Scherer, went over the $1-million mark in purses by running about 1 1/8 miles in 1:48 1/5. That broke the course record of 1:48 4/5, set by Sarafan in 2002.

Mystery Giver, who paid $32, has four wins and a second in seven turf starts at the New Orleans track.

At Gulfstream Park, Meridiana beat Savedbythelight by 1 1/4 lengths to win the $200,000 Orchid Handicap.... Seven horses -- Wimbledon, Imperialism, Lion Heart, St Averil, Lucky Pulpit, Quinton's Gold Rush and Rock Hard Ten -- are probable for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 3.

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