10/14/2004 11:00PM

Injury keeps Baze from 400-win mark


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Russell Baze usually has at least 100 more victories at this time of year than his total of 235 heading into the weekend.

This will be only the second year in the past 13 that Baze has not recorded 400 victories. A badly broken collarbone last Nov. 30 kept him sidelined for nearly two months, and his win percentage upon his return was well below the usual Baze standards until he healed fully.

The win percentage is up at the current Bay Meadows meet to 28 percent, and he's finishing in the money 63 percent of the time. His 52 victories heading into Friday's card were 24 more than runner-up Dennis Carr. Ron Warren Jr. was third with 25 wins, one in front of Francisco Duran and Chance Rollins, who is facing a five-day suspension beginning Wednesday for his ride aboard Final Finale on Monday.

With 8,717 victories, Baze is within hailing distance of Pat Day for third on the all-time list and should go past Bill Shoemaker's total of 8,833 next year.

But just as he doesn't worry about falling short of 400 victories this year, Baze does not think ahead to his upcoming milestones.

"It still feels the same as always," he said. "I've got an agent that gets me on good horses, and I do my best."

Sanger faces six in Bull Dog Stakes

There will be something of a hometown flavor when Sanger takes on six rivals in Sunday's $50,000 Bull Dog at one mile at the Big Fresno Fair. Sanger is named for the community just south of Fresno where his owner-breeder, Andres Hernandez, lives.

Sanger, a 5-year-old gelding, has won four of 19 starts and earned $115,692. He's 1 for 9 with a pair of seconds and a pair of thirds this year.

He ran second in the Governor's Handicap at Sacramento, losing to graded-stakes winner Yougottawanna after setting the pace in the 1 1/8-mile race. He was eighth in the Pomona Invitational in his last start at Fairplex Park in Pomona.

"He didn't like Pomona at all," trainer Dennis Ward said. "He didn't handle either turn. I like Pomona and took several horses down. Most ran well. He was one who didn't."

Ward is looking for a much-improved try Sunday.

"This is a flat mile and a faster racetrack," he said. "This should be a lot better for him."

* Zak's Precocious, the only runner in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies who has never shown early speed, could be looking at a win in Sunday's Bay Meadows feature, a $40,000 claimer at six furlongs. With a potential battle for good position up front, Zak's Precocious, a stakes winner at Calder last fall, may have the race fall into her lap.