06/10/2005 12:00AM

Baze says he's had worse


ALBANY, Calif. - The furthest thought from Russell Baze's mind as he moved up aboard Cowboy Badgett in Wednesday's third race at Golden Gate Fields was that he was about to be, in his words, "planted like a tulip."

Without warning, Cowboy Badgett snapped his left ankle at the quarter pole and tossed Baze, who moments later appeared to be stepped on by Count Anomar. Baze suffered a complete fracture of his left collarbone. X-rays revealed no further problems, but Baze said Thursday his left ankle was still a bit sore.

"It doesn't feel as bad as last time," said Baze, referring to a spill he suffered Nov. 30, 2003, when he broke his right collarbone. "Last time, I got stepped on, too. This time I just felt the colt's hooves graze me."

Baze said the only thing he was thinking about as he began his move Wednesday was catching the pacesetting Swiss Steak and winning another race.

"At that point, I was looking to see if anybody was moving on me," he said. "I wasn't concerned about the leader. I heard it snap, and the next thing I knew I was bouncing on the ground."

Baze said he hopes his recovery period is shorter than the nearly two months it took for him to come back from his last injury.

"We may have to manipulate it to get the bones closer together," said Baze, adding that he was told the break came in an area that would probably heal quicker than the last injury. A machine to stimulate bone growth has been ordered for him.

The injury kept Baze from riding undefeated Lost in the Fog in Saturday's Grade 2 Riva Ridge at Belmont. Trainer Greg Gilchrist gave the mount to Edgar Prado.

* Both Chad Schvaneveldt and Miguel Perez are also missing from the local riding colony. Schvaneveldt began a three-day suspension Saturday for his ride aboard Courtly Jazz in the Golden Poppy Handicap on June 4. Perez begins a five-day suspension Sunday for his ride aboard Louie's Rubies last Sunday.