02/02/2007 1:00AM

Brazilian rider challenging Baze's win mark


Russell Baze, racing's all-time winning jockey, faces losing his title, at least temporarily, to perennial Brazilian champion Jorge Ricardo.

With Baze out of action for at least a week after breaking a rib Sunday at Golden Gate Fields, Ricardo, now based in Argentina, is taking full advantage. On Wednesday at San Isidro, just north of Buenos Aires, the 45-year-old Brazilian rode six winners to bring his total to 9,585. A win at the Hipodromo Argentino in Buenos Aires on Thursday put Ricardo at 9,586, just four behind the 48-year-old Baze.

Ricardo moved his tack from Gavea Racecourse in Rio de Janeiro, where he had been Brazil's champion rider 24 times, in an effort to capture the world lead in wins. The Buenos Aires area has three tracks that are open a total of seven days a week with a minimum of 12 races per day.

The large majority of Ricardo's victories have been recorded in his homeland as reported by the Jockey Club Brasileiro.