06/14/2013 3:32PM

Hollywood Park: Tyler Baze admits to failing alcohol test

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Benoit & Associates
Tyler Baze is facing a possible suspension for violating the terms of his conditional license.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Jockey Tyler Baze admitted Thursday afternoon that he failed an alcohol test administered earlier that day by the California Horse Racing Board because he had consumed alcohol on Wednesday.

Baze, 30, was taken off his mounts at Betfair Hollywood Park on Thursday. Baze is expected to face a suspension for violating the terms of a conditional license issued last September after the jockey missed more than a year of riding for failing to take a Breathalyzer test at Del Mar in September 2011.

The winner of the Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding apprentice jockey of 2000, Baze met with Hollywood Park stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer and Tom Ward at lunchtime on Thursday. Later in the day, he acknowledged that he had consumed alcohol on Wednesday.

“It’s pretty devastating,” he said in a telephone interview.

“I went fishing yesterday and I had a few beers in the boat. I messed up my contract. A contract is a contract. I signed it and I messed up. I take full responsibility for it. Things happen.”

Entering the Thursday card, Baze was tied for the lead in the jockey standings at the spring-summer meeting with 31 wins. Earlier this year, Baze finished fifth at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting with 45 wins.

In the fall of 2011, Baze was suspended 90 days for failing to take a Breathalyzer test and ordered to undergo a 30-day residency program for alcohol counseling. When he resumed riding at Santa Anita last fall, Baze was living in such a facility in Pasadena, but downplayed the situation, saying at the time, “All that is behind me.”

Under the terms of his conditional license, Baze is subject to frequent drug testing. He is required to check in with racing board investigators on a daily basis, and is subject to random breath and urine tests.

Baze is expected to meet with track stewards later this month to discuss the violation of his conditional license.

“I’ll do what they tell me to do,” he said. “Life isn’t easy.”

The stewards did not say on Thursday what sanctions Baze could face.

Baze is closely allied with trainer Jeff Mullins and has ridden two of the trainer’s seven winners at the Hollywood Park meeting.

Speaking at his barn at Hollywood Park on Friday morning, Mullins said he was sympathetic to Baze’s situation.

“I feel sorry for him,” Mullins said. “It’s a disease. I hope he can overcome it. He’s a fantastic rider and a good friend. It’s like losing your left arm. He was riding 90 percent of the [horses in my] barn.

“I’ll sure give him another chance. We’ve always done well together.”