01/02/2003 1:00AM

Baze returns from injury

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Gary Baze, the most accomplished rider in Northwest racing, will return to the saddle at Portland Meadows on Saturday when he will compete in three races on the 11-race card.

Baze will ride Questionable Road for trainer Jim Fergason in the $10,000 OTBA Stallion Stakes, which will go as the second race; Maria Kay for trainer Gene Davis in the seventh race; and Shy Boots for trainer Jonathon Nance in the nightcap. It will be Baze's first action since fracturing an ankle in a spill at Emerald Downs June 21.

Baze, 47, has not ridden regularly at Portland Meadows for many years, but he was the track's leading rider in 1979 and 1980. He topped the standings six times at Longacres, where his record 1,538 wins included 100 stakes victories. He has also won the Longacres Mile a record five times. In his 30-year career, Baze has 3,203 wins from 21,357 mounts.

The OTBA Stallion Stakes will be a showcase for the sire Cisco Road, as five of the six 3-year-olds entered in the six-furlong race are his offspring.

Carlyn Road, a Cisco Road filly out of Ackful, seems likely to be favored off her record of two wins and a second in three starts, including a win in the six-furlong Jane Driggers Debutante Stakes on Dec. 14.

* In the fourth race, In Search of Fame heads a field of eight Quarter Horses going 350 yards in an allowance race. In Search of Fame has a remarkable record of 18 wins from 20 starts at Portland Meadows.

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