02/06/2018 5:01PM

Brazilian rider Jorge Ricardo ties Russell Baze's mark for wins

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Jorge Ricardo, a 56-year-old rider based in Brazil, won a race on Monday at Hipodromo da Gavea in Rio de Janeiro, registering the 12,844th victory of his career, a mark that matches the world record set by retired U.S. rider Russell Baze.

Ricardo, who has had numerous setbacks over the past eight years as he sometimes battled head-to-head with Baze for the world record, is scheduled to ride next on Wednesday at San Isidro in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in a bid to break the record.  

Not surprisingly, Ricardo is one of the most popular riders in Brazil, nicknamed Ricardinho, in the manner in which soccer stars are often nicknamed. The son of a trainer, he began riding at the age of 15, and he has ridden in approximately 70,000 races, according to South American newspapers. He took the rider’s title in Brazil 26 times, and added four more titles in Argentina.

Baze retired with little fanfare in June 2016 at the age of 57. He walked away from the game relatively healthy, and he has stayed out of the spotlight since his retirement.

According to the Racing Post, Ricardo was “mobbed by well-wishers and family” after tying Baze’s record with his win in the sixth race at Gavea, his hometown track, on Jubileia, the favorite.

“I waited long for this and finally I got it,” Ricardo was quoted as saying. “I never in my life imagined I’d win so many races. I never had much time for vacations. I took a week, occasionally two. My life has always been about horseracing.”