Jockey Russell Baze made history in his 50,000th start today at nearby Golden Gate Fields racetrack. Baze and 3-2 favorite Finish Rich in Nyc placed 3rd in the $12,500 claiming race. Baze won the first three races of the day aboard other mounts.
Fifty-four year old Baze is North America’s all-time leading jockey by wins, passing even the legendary Bill Shoemaker, and is closing in on 12,000 career victories. The Vancouver, British Columbia native was inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame in 1999 and Canada’s Horse Racing Hall of Fame last year. He has topped the annual list of riders by victories nationally 11 times. In 1995, he was awarded an Eclipse Award for being the first jockey ever to win 400 races (or more) in a year for four consecutive years. He has reached that mark a total of 13 times.
The son of jockey Joe Baze, Russell has ridden to numerous wins at northern California racetracks. Following in the steps of his father, Russell is a regular at Golden Gate Fields and chalked up many victories at the former San Mateo track, Bay Meadows. Baze lives in Woodside, CA with his family.
Baze has obviously had many mounts, beginning with his first, Oregon Warrior, trained by his dad, Joe. Among his other notable mounts are Itsallgreektome, Chocolate Candy, Bold Chieftain and Indyanne. However, his most famous mount is inarguably the late champion sprinter Lost In the Fog, who made headlines locally as well as nationally as a high-profile patient at the UC Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital in 2006.
With more than 35 years and 50,000 starts under his belt, Baze has no intention of retiring anytime soon. He is fit, healthy and reports that he still enjoys the game. Watch for Baze in the headlines again soon; fewer than 200 wins stand between him and the 12,000 career victories mark.