10/18/2005 11:00PM

Baze falls, but gets up once again

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Benoit & Associates
Tyler Baze is booked to ride in California on Breeders' Cup Day.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Jockey Tyler Baze escaped injury in the first race Wednesday, when he was thrown from Pink Halo shortly after the start of the race over 6 1/2 furlongs for maiden claimers.

Racing on the rail, Pink Halo ducked to the inside leaving the chute and crashed into a temporary rail. Baze fell heavily but quickly rose to his feet. Pink Halo did not appear to be injured. She did not fall after unseating Baze and continued to run around the track.

Baze rode the remainder of his mounts Wednesday.

Wednesday's mishap was the latest in a series of difficulties for Baze this year. He suffered from an eating disorder in the summer and was suspended for a week earlier this month after failing a breathalyzer test at Hoosier Park.

According to his agent, Ivan Puhich, Baze will bypass the Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park on Oct. 29 to remain in California that weekend.

Going into Wednesday's program at Santa Anita, Baze was tied for ninth in the standings, having won with 5 of 42 mounts during the first three weeks of the meeting. He would almost certainly have been higher in the standings had he not missed a week because of the suspension.

Sunday, he won the $100,000 Harold Ramser Handicap aboard Louvain, a mount he picked up midway through the program after jockey Patrick Valenzuela took off for the day because of a sore foot.

Puhich said that Baze could have gained the mount on Leprechaun Kid for the Breeders' Cup Turf "if I had pushed that." Garrett Gomez has the mount.

Instead, Baze will ride at home and continue to undergo counseling with a nutrition doctor, Puhich said.

"Getting Tyler healthy is more important," Puhich said. "He's got a good mindset. He's doing great with his doctor."

Puhich said that Baze is booked to ride Oliver Travels in the Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont Park on Sunday.

Impact of virus still lingering

A respiratory virus that hit Southern California backstretches in late September and early October is showing signs of waning, but the affected horses are only beginning to recover from the illness, according to veterinarians and track officials.

Horses that became sick were often treated with antibiotics and were sidelined for a few weeks. One horse, City and State, died as a result of effects of the virus, trainer Steve Knapp said earlier this month

"They cough for two or three weeks," said veterinarian Jeff Blea said. "It's been pretty well contained."

Director of racing Mike Harlow said earlier this month that the impact the virus has had on entries "is difficult to quantify, but it can't help."

Harlow said the virus was continuing to impact entries this week.

"Wednesday or Thursday were pretty slow," he said.

There were 57 horses entered on an eight-race card Wednesday and 58 for Thursday's eight-race card. Friday's program has 71 horses entered for eight races, but three of them are on the also-eligible list.

The lingering effect of the illnesses has resulted in fields smaller than what racing officials would prefer.

"They may not be sick, but they missed a week or two of training," said racing secretary Rick Hammerlee.

A.P. Warrior to Hollywood Futurity

A.P. Warrior, the runner-up in the Norfolk Stakes on Oct. 2, will be pointed for the Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 17 after not being pre-entered in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, trainer Eoin Harty said.

Harty and owner Stan Fulton had considered the BC Juvenile before opting to stay in California.

"I think it's in the horse's best interest," said Harty.

In the Norfolk, A.P. Warrior was seventh early and rallied wide to finish three-quarters of a length behind Brother Derek, who is bound for the BC Juvenile.

"He might have been the best horse in the race, but he didn't win," Harty said of A.P. Warrior. "I have to give the credit" to Brother Derek.

Douglas drops appeal of suspension

Jockey Rene Douglas, who has struggled at this meeting with four wins from 39 mounts, has dropped an appeal of a suspension issued in late September.

The new dates of Douglas's suspension began Thursday and continued through Saturday.

Douglas was cited Sept. 29 for causing interference that led to disqualification of Glassy from second to fifth from that day's fourth race.

* First post time on Friday is 2 p.m., a half-hour earlier than the start of previous Friday programs at this meeting. The shift to 2 p.m. was made because of an earlier sunset.