08/13/2004 12:00AM

Baze bags four wins in a day

Four Footed Fotos
Perfect Drift may ship in from Kentucky for next Sunday's Pacific Classic.

DEL MAR, Calif. - No one beat Tyler Baze at Del Mar on Thursday.

With four mounts on the eight-race program, Baze was perfect, winning with Power Tripper ($4.60) in the third, Bertha Jo ($3.40) in the fifth, Stage Player ($6.60) in the seventh, and Daddysangbass ($7.40) in the eighth.

Baze equaled an accomplishment by David Flores for most wins in a day at this meeting and now has a five-race lead over Corey Nakatani in the jockeys' standings, 26-21.

Baze is shooting for his first Del Mar riding title. He won the first title of his career last month at the Holly-wood Park spring-summer meeting.

With the titles come mounts on important horses. Baze rides Kela in Sunday's $200,000 Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap over seven furlongs. On July 25, Baze guided Kela to an upset win in the Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap over six furlongs.

"All he has to do is run like he did last time," Baze said. "This could be a very big weekend."

Stage Player was the highlight of Thursday's program for Baze. The second choice in a one-mile allowance race on turf, Stage Player fought for the lead on the outside of Golden Arrow to early stretch and pulled clear to win by two lengths in 1:33.37. The Tin Man, making his first start since finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita last October, closed from fifth to finish third.

The win marked Baze's third win on Stage Player this year. On July 17, Stage Player won the Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes at Canterbury Park.

"I never let him run yesterday," Baze said on the backstretch Friday morning. "I only hit him left-handed because he was leaning on [Golden Arrow]"

Baze plans to take a vacation in September and will ride sparingly during the Fairplex Park meeting in Pomona. He plans to visit family and friends in Washington and go to Alaska on a fishing trip.

Until then, Baze will be attempting to add the Del Mar jockey title to his list of achievements.

Next race set for Stage Player

Stage Player will make his next start Sept. 6 in the $100,000 California Turf Championship for statebreds over a mile on turf at Bay Meadows. The race is often used as a prep to the $175,000 California Cup Mile, which will be run during the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Oct. 16.

"It's too good of a race to pass up," said owner Robert Bone of the Bay Meadows race.

This year, Stage Player, a 5-year-old gelding, has earned $283,545 for Bone and trainer Jeff Mullins.

"Every start, he's getting better and better," Bone said in the winner's circle. "I couldn't believe it when he took the next step up [Thursday]. I was shocked."

The Tin Man finished 2 3/4 lengths behind Stage Player. He never threatened the winner, but was running well at the end. "It was a good start back," said trainer Richard Mandella. "We didn't want to put him in a situation where we'd beat him up. It's good to get a race into him."

The Tin Man is being pointed for a third consecutive appearance in the Breeders' Cup Turf, which will be run at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30. In 2002 at Arlington Park, The Tin Man finished fourth in the BC Turf.

Mandella is considering starting The Tin Man in the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf on Aug. 29.

Perfect Drift likely for Pacific Classic

Perfect Drift, the multiple stakes winner who is winless in five starts this year, is likely to ship from Kentucky for the $1 million Pacific Classic next Sunday, trainer Murray Johnson said.

An appearance by Perfect Drift would mark the colt's second major stakes appearance this month. A 5-year-old, Perfect Drift finished second by a nose to Roses in May in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 7. Perfect Drift rallied from eighth to reach contention in early stretch of that race but appeared to hang after leading briefly.

"He seems to be better coming out of the race than coming in," Johnson said.

Perfect Drift is one of eight candidates for the Pacific Classic, run over 1 1/4 miles on dirt. The field is expected to be led by Pleasantly Perfect, the winner of the 2003 Breeders' Cup Classic and the $6 million Dubai World Cup earlier this year. Other candidates include Choctaw Nation, who beat Pleasantly Perfect in the San Diego Handicap on Aug. 1; Total Impact, the Hollywood Gold Cup winner last month; Colonial Colony; During; Night Patrol; and Olmodavor.

Perfect Drift will ship Tuesday if he makes the trip, Johnson said.

"It everything goes well, we'll be on the flight," Johnson said. "We'll probably give it a go if it all looks good."

Perfect Drift was sixth in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita last year, his only appearance in Southern California. Perfect Drift's last victory came in the Hawthorne Gold Cup last September, which came 15 days after he won the Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park.

The Pacific Classic is the top race on a weekend that includes Saturday's Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks over 1 1/8 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies.

Hendricks benefit raises $40k

A benefit poker tournament for trainer Dan Hendricks raised more than $40,000 on Thursday night, a figure that could climb considerably before the final donations are tallied.

John Ernst, a racehorse owner who keeps horses with Hendricks, won the four-hour tournament, which included approximately 200 players. "The support was incredible," said Samantha Hendricks, Dan's wife.

The final table included jockey Alex Solis, who injured his back in a late July spill.

Hendricks suffered paralysis from the waist down in a motorcycle accident in mid-July. He has been undergoing treatment at a San Diego hospital in recent weeks and is expected to return to his stable in coming weeks.