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Hall Of Famer Baze Reaches Another Milestone – Rides In 50,000th Race At Golden Gate Fields
Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze reached an incredible milestone Friday at Golden Gate Fields when he competed in his 50,000th thoroughbred race.
Although he finished third aboard the 6-year-old mare Finish Rich in Nyc, Baze was allowed to enter the winner’s circle following the race for a photograph commemorating his historic ride. Baze’s colleagues in the Golden Gate Fields jockey colony and track officials jammed in for the photograph.
Baze, who swept the first three races on Friday’s card, has amassed 11,839 victories from his 50,000 mounts. Both the win total and mount total are North American racing records.
How impressive is it to ride in 50,000 races? Equibase, horse racing’s official record keepers, determined the distance of Baze’s races total more than 42,924 miles and the total elapsed time of those races equals nearly 48 days. Since the circumference of the earth is 24,901.55 miles, Equibase’s stats show that Baze has raced around the world 1.72 times.
“I don’t think it’s any big thing just going out there that many times, but going out there and really being successful at it, that’s what is important,” said Baze.
Baze, at age 54, believes he is riding as well now as he ever has.
“I don’t think my physical skills have diminished any at all,” said Baze. “I get the odd ache and pain here and there but it’s manageable.”
Baze said he still has great passion for riding races and doesn’t plan to quit anytime soon.
“I’m the kind of guy that likes playing games and winning,” said Baze. “And when I can do it against the younger guys, it kind of adds a little extra thrill to it. I figure in 2016 I’ll have 40 years in, and so, that might be enough. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.”
Baze admitted that people find it hard to believe that he hasn’t retired from the saddle.
“The other day I had to get a part for a door knob and the guy I bought it from says, ‘hey, I know you, are you still riding?’” said Baze. “That’s always the first thing they ask me.”
Baze will be riding Saturday when racing resumes at Golden Gate Fields. Post time is 12:45 p.m. and Baze has seven mounts on the nine-race card.
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.