05/17/2009 11:00PM

Baze regains title as world's winningest rider


ALBANY, Calif. - Russell Baze is riding high as the winningest jockey in the world again.

Baze claimed that title in December 2006 when he surpassed Laffit Pincay's world record of 9,530 victories. He was passed by Brazilian rider Jorge Ricardo two months later.

Baze regained the distinction as the world's winningest rider Thursday, with a pair of victories at Golden Gate Fields that put him two ahead of Ricardo's total of 10,520 victories.

The 47-year-old Ricardo has been sidelined since suffering a fractured skull in March.

After taking the lead Thursday, Baze added 11 more wins over the weekend with four on Friday, three Saturday, and four more Sunday. That brought his win total to 10,533.

Baze has been on fire on Sundays of late. This past Sunday he rode three straight winners, in the fourth (Ordination, $3.60), fifth (Groovy Chick, $6.40), and sixth (Seven Lucky J's, $6.60), and then won the ninth (El Palqui, $9.20).

Baze, who will turn 51 on Aug. 7, is riding as well as ever. He has won with 174 of 554 mounts this year, 31 percent. What is even more phenomenal is that he has hit the board with 70 percent of his mounts. He has ridden 10 more winners than he has ridden horses that have gone unplaced.

At his current pace, he will reach the 400-victory mark in one season for the 13th time in his career.

His 176 victories at the meet has nearly doubled the 97 wins of second-place rider Frank Alvarado.

Pair of stakes top holiday weekend

Golden Gate Fields will have a six-day week, with Monday's Memorial Day holiday card, and there are two stakes this weekend.

Feisty Suances, who scored his first stakes victory when he captured the Silky Sullivan at 2-5 on May 2, will be back for Saturday's $75,000 Alcatraz at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Bold Chieftain, who ran an improved race when third, beaten only three-quarters of a length in the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile on the turf on April 25, will seek his first victory of the year in Monday's Grade 3, $100,000 Berkeley Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

The Alcatraz marks Feisty Suances's first start on the turf. The Silky Sullivan was scheduled for the turf but was switched to the main track because of heavy rain leading up to the race.

The race also will mark the turf debut of Massone, from Lewis Figone's Frankfurt Stable. He was second to Chocolate Candy in the Gradeo3 El Camino Real Derby here and second to General Quarters in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes on April 11 at Keeneland in his last start.

Also listed as confirmed starters in the Alcatraz, which is for 3-year-olds, are Lesson in Deceit, who won the Tempe Handicap on the turf at Turf Paradise; Run It, who won his turf debut in an April 12 allowance race here; Robs Hero, who graduated on the turf in a maiden claimer; and Arden Park.

Miguel's Mascot and Royal Mango, second and fourth in the Silky Sullivan and both turf winners, are listed as probable for the Alcatraz.

In the Berkeley, Our Partner, fourth in the San Francisco Mile, is the only confirmed opponent for Bold Chieftain.

Listed as possible for the Berkeley are Unusual Suspect, winner of the Silveyville on the meet's opening day last December; Awesome Gem, runner-up in last year's Grade 3 All-American here; Autism Awareness, winner of the 2008 El Camino Real Derby; and Medzendeekron, who defeated Bold Chieftain in the Crystal Water on the turf at Santa Anita.

The two stakes days will sandwich the regular Sunday Dollar Day. The California Cowboys will perform at the Spring Concert Series.

Monday's holiday card includes special activities for children and a free Golden Gate Fields picnic blanket.