Updated on 09/17/2011 9:41PM

Baze tops Shoemaker as No. 2 rider in wins

Russell Baze now has more wins than any jockey except Laffit Pincay Jr.

ALBANY, Calif. - Russell Baze moved past Bill Shoemaker into second place on the all-time jockey victory list Saturday at Golden Gate Fields, riding four winners to bring his victory total to 8,834, one more than Shoemaker. Baze, 46, won two more races Sunday, putting him 694 behind Laffit Pincay Jr., the all-time leader with 9,530 victories. Pincay was 52 when he surpassed Shoemaker as No. 1 on Dec. 10, 1999.

Baze's milestone victory came aboard Hollow Memories ($4.40) in the seventh race, a six-furlong sprint for $4,000 claimers. Hollow Memories won by 4 1/2 lengths.

Baze won with his first three mounts on the card - in the second, third, and fifth races - aboard Face Down Dave ($4.80), Tularosa Kid ($6.40), and El Prado's Boy ($3.80). He finished sixth aboard Plush Velvet in the sixth race before his milestone victory.

"Now that it's official, I'm glad it's over," Baze said Saturday. "I don't really think about it, but when I do, it's like, 'Holy mackerel, that's a lot of wins.' "

Baze has great respect for Shoemaker, whose first career victory came at Golden Gate Fields on April 20, 1949, aboard Shafter V.

"He was my idol," Baze said. "He's the idol of every jock. He set the standard to match."

Baze now goes after Pincay, who retired because of injury in 2003.

"He's a stationary target," said Baze. "I think it's safe to say he'd still be slugging away if he hadn't been hurt."

Golden Gate Fields general manager Peter Tunney made a winner's circle presentation to Baze after win No. 8,834, congratulating him and comparing him to Shoemaker as a "credit to the industry."

It is interesting that Baze tied Shoemaker's mark aboard El Prado's Boy and broke it on Hollow Memories. The two are half-brothers, both out of Shes Got the Facts and bred by D. Michael Cavey. They are trained, respectively, by Steve Miyadi and Jamey Thomas.

Apprentice jockey Freddy Fong Jr. tried his best to deny Baze the record in the seventh race, keeping Baze and Hollow Memories pinned inside early in the race while aboard Sunday Cash, the eventual runner-up.

Fong approached Baze tentatively after the race and said, "I'm sorry I put pressure on you."

"That's your job," Baze replied.

Baze's longtime agent, Ray Harris, admitted he was "teary-eyed" in the winner's circle after the big victory. "So much has been said about Russell, it's hard to top anything," he said. "He's quite a guy. All the years we've been together, I don't think we've ever had words. Our rapport is fabulous."

Baze has dominated racing in northern California since beginning to ride on the circuit full time in 1980. Since then, he has won 25 meet riding titles at Golden Gate Fields and 32 at Bay Meadows.

With the exception of three years spent in Southern California from 1988-91, Baze did not lose a major-meeting riding title in northern California from the 1981 Bay Meadows till last year's Golden Gate Fields meet, when he was sidelined for nearly two months with a fractured collarbone after a spill.

He has led the nation in victories seven times, winning 400 races in 11 of the past 13 years. No other jockey has won 400 races in a year more than three times.

In 1995, he was honored with a special Eclipse Award after topping the 400 mark for the fourth straight year.

He won the Isaac Murphy Award, given to the jockey with the highest win percentage in the nation, for nine straight years from its inception in 1995 through 2003.