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Baze Gets the Monkey Off His Back

It was three calendar weeks, 10 racing days and an 0-for-46 stretch in coming, but jockey Tyler Baze finally got career victory No. 2,000 on Thursday when he guided Kate’s Event home in the third race for trainer Ted West and owner Gulliver Racing LLC of Phil Bongiovanni of Yorba Linda.

Then, four races later, Baze took the first step toward 3,000 aboard Fable for the same West/Gulliver Racing LLC connections.

“It was definitely a relief to get that little monkey off my back,” Baze said Friday morning in the Del Mar stable area. “It was so exciting, and then to get another win was pretty cool.

“It is frustrating when you don’t win races. But you just keep showing up with a smile on your face. I knew I was doing the best I could do and it was bound to come. But patience was getting a little rough with me. It was getting a little frustrating, but now it’s over with.”

Baze, who has battled substance abuse problems for the past two years, acknowledged several supporters.

“It took a lot of people to get that done,” Baze said.  “I’ve been through hell the last few years and it has taken hard work and keeping my mind on the right things. I have to thank the Winners’ Foundation, Craig (agent Craig O’Bryan) who stood by me and Jeff (trainer Jeff Mullins).

“Jeff has been a huge part of giving me a chance and helping me out.”

Returnng to the winner’s circle, Baze was greeted with a banner acknowledging win No. 2,000 and, shortly after that, was doused with a celebratory bucket of water by jockey Joe Talamo.

“I knew it was coming,” Baze said. “Joe has been telling me for a week that he couldn’t wait to throw a bucket of ice water on me. He got almost as wet as me. It reminded me of my first win. It’s special.”

Thursday’s wins were Nos. 93 and 94 of 2014 for Baze. His mounts have accounted for $5,278,252 in purse earnings, No. 17 nationally among riders, according to Equibase statistics.


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