11/24/2006 1:00AM

Baze's regimen a contrast with Pincay's

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Russell Baze, on the brink of becoming the winningest jockey in history, has been plying his trade for 32 years. At age 48, he will be four years younger than Laffit Pincay Jr. was when he passed Bill Shoemaker on Dec. 19, 1999.

Through Friday's fourth race, Baze had won 9,524 races, which put him six away from tying Pincay's record of 9,530. He had one mount left Friday. With seven mounts Saturday and six Sunday, Baze has a good shot to break the record this weekend. His best chances at victory Sunday appear to be with Playing'r Song in the first, Sea Harbor in the seventh, and Marathon Mom in the eighth.

Although both riders are known for their work ethic and professionalism, they have different body types and nutritional requirements.

Pincay, a heavily muscled natural 135-pounder, battled weight problems most of his career, trying to keep his weight near 112 pounds. Pincay became a nutritional expert and a guru to many jockeys.

"In my career, I changed diets many times," Pincay said. "I was always eliminating something. As I got older, it got more difficult every year. That's why my career declined. I got weak. But then I found a diet that helped a lot with my energy and my brain."

Baze, a natural 125-pounder, said: "I'm more fortunate than Laffit. I don't restrict what I eat as much as how much I eat. My guilty pleasure is to eat too much. On Sundays, we often have pizza, and I don't deny myself. I'll eat two or three pieces or even a fourth, if it's small."

In addition to dieting, Pincay also exercised rigorously each morning.

"That's why I quit working horses," he said. "I could keep my weight down better by working in the gym, but I was there if somebody needed a horse worked."

Baze works horses six days a week as well as riding five days.

"I take Monday off and work horses Tuesdays, and then I have a regular exercise regime Tuesday mornings," he said.

Although he's relatively healthy, Baze still has aches and pains that sometimes force him to compromise his training.

"There are changes I notice, but I don't feel that I'm about to fall apart," he said. "I don't jog anymore because it hurts my knees and ankles, but I run up carpeted stairs at home."

If Baze does go past Pincay this weekend, maybe he'll eat that fourth slice of pizza Sunday night.

Even if it's a big slice.