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
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
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
“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.