06/13/2016 2:46PM

Jockey Russell Baze to retire

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Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Russell Baze, 57, was to announce his retirement from riding Tuesday.

Russell Baze, the all-time winningest rider in U.S. Thoroughbred racing history, will announce his retirement Tuesday, according to a post on the Paulick Report, a racing website.

The Paulick Report quoted Baze’s agent, Ray Harris, as saying the rider told him Sunday night following his mount in the 10th race at Golden Gate Fields that he had ridden his last race.

“I was surprised but I was happy,” Harris was quoted as saying. “He’s my friend, and I wanted him to be sound for his retirement.”

Baze did not immediately respond to a message left on his cell phone.

Baze, 57, will retire with 12,842 wins, far and away the leading U.S. rider in history. He has had 53,578 mounts in his 42-year career, with $199.3 million in purse earnings, according to Equibase records.

Baze was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2002, he was voted the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award winner by his peers. He also was given a Special Eclipse Award in 1995 for becoming the first jockey to win 400 or more races for four years in a row.

Though in his heyday in the 1990s he averaged approximately 1,500 mounts and 400 wins a year and was known for expertly rating horses on the lead, he rarely strayed from his Northern California base. As a result, he often led the nation in wins while ranking several dozen spots down the leader’s list in purse earnings. He won 36 riding titles at Bay Meadows, a defunct track south of San Francisco, and 27 titles at Golden Gate, in Albany north of the city.

Baze’s father, Joe, was a rider who took riding titles at Northwest tracks, including Bay Meadows and Golden Gate, before retiring to become a trainer. His younger brother Dale also was a jockey, along with a cousin, Gary.