11/22/2006 1:00AM

Baze takes no-nonsense approach to history


SAN MATEO, Calf. - Laffit Pincay Jr.'s record for wins by a jockey, 9,530, may fall in the next few days. Russell Baze, whose win figure stood at 9,523 after winning with his first four mounts on Wednesday's Bay Meadows card, doesn't waste much time when he nears milestones.

As Baze approached his two most recent milestones, he shot past them quickly.

On Jan. 22, 2005, when he passed Bill Shoemaker to move into second in the all-time wins category, Baze won four races, tying Shoemaker with his third victory and surpassing him two races later with his fourth win of the day.

On June 2, 2005, when he reached the 9,000 mark, he won 8,999 aboard Somethinaboutlaura, aboard whom he won a stakes last Saturday, in the day's third race and reached 9,000 in that day's final race.

"A lot of people ask me if I get nervous when I'm approaching a milestone," Baze said. "I don't let it weigh on my mind. If I get close, I just figure if they counted my wins on Appies and Quarter Horses, I'd be past the mark anyway."

Baze says, "I've never been one to set goals."

Goals are the province of Baze's agent, Ray Harris.

The two have been together since 1979, when Harris convinced Baze to ride full time in northern California, except for the three years Baze rode in Southern California.

As Baze approaches milestones, Harris says trainers often seek him out with live mounts in hopes of sharing the winner's circle picture with Baze.

"It's a little easier, but I have to pick and choose the right contender in each race," Harris said.

Harris says his job of booking Baze's mounts is easy, and not simply because of Baze's success on the track.

"He's such a great person, he would get a lot of respect even if he wasn't the leading rider," Harris said."He does things for people all the time.

Harris said that even though Baze rides many horses for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, "he's nice to every trainer and owner.

"You hear about athletes who complain they want the ball more or they want to bat third or fourth or that they should have been on some other horse. He never protests. He just goes out and does his job."

Baze has only three mounts on Friday after having six on both Wednesday and Thursday.

He will ride the 7-5 morning-line choice, Putmeinyourwill, in a $32,000 maiden claimer on the turf in the second race. He will be aboard the 7-2 second choice, Shining Day, in an allowance turf event in the fourth, and the 5-2 favorite, Wild Buddy, in the day's feature, the $55,000-added John Henry Handicap.

Speaking before the start of Wednesday's racing, Harris said he thought Baze would break Pincay's record by the weekend.

"Wednesday is the real key," he said. "If he can win three or four that day, I think he can do it."