09/02/2016 10:46AM

Former jockeys Baze, Douglas honored by NTWAB

Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze retired in June.

Russell Baze, the Hall of Fame jockey who announced his retirement this year without any fanfare, has been named the Mr. Fitz Award winner for “typifying the spirit of racing” by the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, the NTWAB announced on Friday along with the winners of its other annual awards.

Baze, who has won more races than any other jockey in North America, retired in June, capping a career in which the rider dominated the Northern California racing circuit with a “blue-collar work ethic and attention to detail,” the NTWAB said in a release.

The NTWAB also announced that it will honor former rider Rene Douglas with its second annual Bill Mooney Award “for displaying courage in the face of tremendous adversity.” Douglas has been paralyzed from the waist down since a riding accident in 2009, but he has returned to the sport as the head of a racing partnership.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners will receive the NTWAB’s Joe Palmer Award for “long and meritorious service to racing.” The announcement cited the AAEP’s implementation of its “On Call” program to assist journalists, along with its formation in 2008 of a task force to examine catastrophic injuries and medication usage.

Other NTWAB award winners are Dave Johnson, the longtime broadcasting personality and race-caller, who will receive the Jim McKay Award for “broadcasting excellence,” and Hank Wesch, the former racing writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune who retired in 2010 after a 50-year career in sportswriting.