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Baze Will Seek Sixth California Derby Win Saturday At Golden Gate Fields
Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze will try to gain sole possession of the record for most California Derby victories Saturday at Golden Gate Fields when he rides Hodge in the 97th running of the historic feature for 3-year-olds.
Baze has won the California Derby five times, a record he shares with the late Hall of Fame rider Johnny Longden, who recorded his victories well before Baze rode his first race.
Longden scored his California Derby wins with May Reward in 1948, the filly Miz Clementine in 1954, No Regrets in 1956, Finnegan in 1959, and Real Good Deal in 1964
Baze collected his first California Derby victory in 1981 with Always A Cinch and didn’t win the race again until 1999, when he triumphed with Red Sky’s. Baze then won the California Derby three times in six years, scoring with Trieste’s Honor in 2004, Cause to Believe in 2006, and Chocolate Candy in 2009.
Chocolate Candy and Cause to Believe were both trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who has won the California Derby four times – tops among trainers. Hollendorfer scored his first victory in the race with the filly Pike Place Dancer in 1996 and also won the race in 2007 with Bwana Bull.
Baze will ride Hodge in the California Derby for Southern California-based trainer Michael Machowsky. Hollendorfer will start two horses in the California Derby, Russian Greek and Reconstruction. Hollendorfer has given Aaron Gryder the call on Russian Greek and Frank Alvarado the assignment on Reconstruction.
The field for the California Derby, in post position order, is as follows: Senor Rain, Kevin Krigger rides at 116 pounds; Hodge, Baze, 116; Unveiled Heat, Abel Cedillo, 116; Cahill Chrome, Juan Hernandez, 119; Blacky the Bull, Kerwin John, 116; Russian Greek, Gryder, 122; and Reconstruction, Alvarado, 116.
The California Derby is the eighth race on a nine-race program that begins at 12:45 p.m. Gates open at 10 a.m. and fans attending Cal Derby Day will receive a free Golden Gate Fields hooded sweatshirt. Post time for the California Derby is 4:22 p.m.