08/24/2010 11:48AM

Baze a rider on the move up

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Four-Footed Fotos
Eclair de Lune wins the Beverly D. with Junior Alvarado riding.

Junior Alvarado got the Grade 1 win on Saturday at Arlington Park, but it is Chicago newcomer Mike Baze who took over the lead in the local jockey standings with a five-win Saturday.

Alvarado won the first Grade 1 of his career, guiding Eclair de Lune to victory in the Beverly D. Stakes. It was a somewhat unlikely pairing between Alvarado, Arlington’s 2009 riding champion, but hardly a hot commodity in the national graded stakes scene, and California-based trainer Ron McAnally, who rarely starts a horse at Arlington, but tapped Alvarado to ride Eclair de Lune in the Modesty Handicap last month.

Alvarado has held the lead in the jockey’s race most of this meet, but Baze swept in front of him winning five of Saturday’s 12 races. Through Sunday’s races, Baze had won 77 races, three more than Alvarado. Baze won the third race on Saturday for owner Frank Calabrese, who for most of the meet has been Alvarado’s biggest supporter. But in recent racing days, the Calabrese operation has been spreading mounts among other riders, with Alvarado at least temporarily out of the mix. Meanwhile, Baze had his business for leading trainer Wayne Catalano reduced earlier in the summer, when Shane Sellers took over much of the Catalano barn, but Baze steadily has gotten back into favor with Catalano, and once again is riding many of his live mounts.

All in all, Baze’s choice to move his tack to Chicago from California at the beginning of the Arlington meet appears to have been a good one.

Workin for Hops may try Delaware

Workin for Hops, the only locally based horse to finish in the top three in any of the Grade 1 turf races on Saturday, has come out of his third-place Secretariat placing in good physical condition, trainer Mike Stidham said, and could start next in the Kent Stakes at Delaware Park or the Hawthorne Derby.

Workin for Hops briefly held a stretch lead in the Secretariat, but was passed first by Paddy O’Prado, and nipped for second just before the finish by English invader Wigmore Hall.

“I thought it was a good effort, but he just got beat by a faster horse,” said Stidham.

Backstabber looks favored again

Catalano will have the favorite, Backstabber, for the nominally featured eighth race on Thursday, an entry-level turf-sprint allowance. Backstabber has gone off the betting favorite in all five of his starts, and lost the first four of them before finally breaking through Aug. 12 at Arlington.

Thursday’s nine-race card includes six maiden races.