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Baze Rides 9,000th Winner

Only the second to reach that mark, Northern California jockey has an eye on Pincay's record.

June 03, 2005|Bill Christine | Times Staff Writer

Russell Baze might have ridden his 9,000th winner at Golden Gate Fields earlier in the day, but it was Thursday night as usual -- dinner with his family -- for the 46-year-old jockey.

"I won't be doing any celebrating," Baze said. "I don't want to be going hog wild, because I've got a bunch of horses to ride Friday."

Baze's 9,000th win, which leaves him 530 behind the all-time leader, the retired Laffit Pincay, came in Thursday's last race, aboard a 3-year-old filly who was tiring and drifting as the finish line approached.

But Queen Of The Hunt, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, held on to win by one length in the 1 1/16 -mile race for $6,250 claiming horses.

Baze started the day needing two wins to reach 9,000. He won on his first mount, Somethinaboutlaura, in the third race, then rode four more races before winning on Queen Of The Hunt.

"That's a lot of winning," Baze said, "but I also would like to know how many horses I've ridden."

The answer to that is about 40,700, starting in 1974 when Baze, barely 16, won his first race at Yakima Meadows in Washington. Baze said that his total mounts -- and total wins -- would be much higher if quarter horse and Appaloosa races were included.

Baze's obvious goal is to catch and pass Pincay, who was forced to retire after suffering a neck injury at Santa Anita in 2003.

"I feel like Laffit can hear my footsteps," Baze said.

"Whether I can top him or not, I don't know. Five-hundred 30 wins is not peanuts, you know. But if I can stay healthy, I would think I might get there in a year, a year and a half."

Baze has won 195 races this year, which leads the country.

He has been the national leader seven times, all of the titles coming since 1992, and he was elected to the Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 1999.

Of those on the list of the 10 winningest jockeys, only Baze and Pat Day are still riding. Day, 51, has been slowed this year because of hip surgery.

Baze thought it was fitting that his 9,000th win should come with a Hollendorfer horse. They have teamed to win more than 2,000 races, Baze estimated.

One of the gifts Golden Gate gave Baze in the winner's circle was a horse blanket with the number 9,000 on it.

Baze gave the blanket to Hollendorfer.

"I don't have a horse to use it right now," Baze said.



Riding high

Top 10 jockeys in wins:

Laffit Pincay...9,530

* Russell Baze...9,000

* Bill Shoemaker...8,833

* Pat Day...8,784

* David Gall...7,396

* Chris McCarron...7,141

* Angel Cordero...7,057

* Jorge Velasquez...6,795

* Sandy Hawley...6,449

* Larry Snyder...6,388

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