Baze, Nation’s Win Leader In 2012, Opens 2013 With Riding Triple

Baze, Nation’s Win Leader In 2012, Opens 2013 With Riding Triple

     Northern California’s Russell Baze, who led the nation’s jockeys in victories in 2012 with 374, opened up 2013 by winning the first race at Golden Gate Fields Tuesday aboard even-money favorite Picture Perfect ($4.00).

     Baze ended New Year’s Day with a riding triple as he also won the sixth race with Cheese Danish ($4.80) and the eighth with Isadaisybelle ($10.20).

     Baze won races at a 33 percent clip in 2012 – tops in the country – as he amassed his 374 victories from 1,143 mounts.   The Hall of Famer also had 240 seconds and 170 thirds, meaning his mounts finished in the money 69 percent of the time.

     The winningest jockey in North American racing history with 11,814 career wins, Baze has led the nation in victories 12 times – in 2012 (with 374 wins), 2009 (415), 2008 (403), 2007 (399), 2005 (375), 2002 (431), 2000 (412), 1996 (415), 1995 (448), 1994 (415), 1993 (408), and 1992 (435).

     Baze recorded 282 wins last year at his home track, Golden Gate Fields, where he captured the riding championship at three meetings – 2011-2012 winter/spring, 2012 summer, and 2012 fall.  Baze has 44 career riding titles at Golden Gate Fields.
 
     Jockey Ramon Dominguez finished second in the nation in wins with 341 and Javier Castellano was third with 325.  

     Dominguez and Castellano, both based in New York, finished one-two in the national earnings standings with totals of $25,582,252 and $22,441,852, respectively.  John Velazquez, also based in New York, finished third with $19,875,351.

     Baze’s mounts earned $5,854,254, a total that ranked him 37th in the nation in money won.  

     The Bay Area’s Jerry Hollendorfer finished fifth among the nation’s trainers in victories with 212 and ninth in earnings with $7,573,282.  Hollendorfer, who also maintains a string of horses in Southern California, posted 138 of his wins at Golden Gate Fields, and like Baze, led his colleagues at all three of the track’s meetings in 2012.  Hollendorfer has won 42 training titles at Golden Gate Fields.

     East Coast-based Jamie Ness led the nation’s trainers in wins with 396.  Steve Asmussen was second with 285 victories and Todd Pletcher was third with 233.  Asmussen and Pletcher both operate stables throughout the country.   

     Pletcher led the nation in earnings with $20,954,322 and was followed by Southern California-based Bob Baffert with $15,047,226 and Asmussen with $13,229,433.

     Two other Northern California - based horsemen finished in the Top 50 in wins in 2012.  Steve Sherman finished 40th in the trainer standings with 107 victories and Frank Alvarado finished tied for 43rd in the jockey standings with 172 victories.

     Carr Opens Year With Three Straight Winners –  Jockey Dennis Carr kicked off 2013 by riding three straight winners at Golden Gate Fields.  After sitting out the first two races, Carr swept races three through five with Black Tunic ($4.80), Showme Yourfriends ($7.40) and Seek the Heat ($6.60).  Carr also won the ninth race with Victoriously Jewel ($6.40) to complete a riding four-bagger.

     Three Jockeys Receive Suspensions –  Jockeys Julien Couton, David Lopez and Christian Santiago Reyes all received three-day riding suspensions from the board of stewards at Golden Gate Fields for “careless riding” in separate races Sunday.  The riders will be benched Jan. 6, 10 and 11.

     Santiago Reyes was cited for causing interference in the stretch with Olympio’s Gal in the second race, Lopez was whistled for causing interference approaching the far turn with Downtown C.T. in the third race, and Couton was flagged for causing interference in the stretch with Rathgar in the ninth race.   

     Olympio’s Gal finished third in her race and remained in that spot in the official order of finish, however, the stewards disqualified both Downtown C. T. (finished third, placed fifth) and Rathgar (finished second, placed third).

      Racing Resumes Friday –  There is no racing at Golden Gate Fields Wednesday or Thursday.  Racing resumes Friday with an eight-race program that begins at 12:45 p.m.

     Golden Gate Fields is a Stronach Group company, North America's leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator.  The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness.  The company is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its Adena Springs operation.  The company owns and operates AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology, and XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service.  The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.