07/03/2001 11:00PM

Lumpkins leaving Bay Area

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PLEASANTON, Calif. - Jason Lumpkins, who arrived in northern California a little more than a year ago and gave perennial jockey champion Russell Baze one of his sternest tests at the recent Bay Meadows meeting, will leave the area July 23 and will probably miss the summer-fall Bay Meadows meet.

"I'm going back to West Virginia," Lumpkins said. "I have some loose ends to tie up there, and I will probably ride at Mountaineer Park the rest of the year."

Lumpkins does plan to return, but said he could be gone for up to six months.

Baze has won the riding title at every Bay Meadows and Golden Gate meeting at which he has participated since 1981, but Lumpkins actually led him late in the last meeting before finally succumbing, 95-89. Lumpkins will finish the Alameda County Fair meeting at Pleasanton and ride the first week of the Solano County Fair at Vallejo.

Lumpkins is currently fourth in the national standings in winners for 2001, with 168 through Monday, and said his goal is to finish second or third.

Agent Dennis Patterson said he turned down an offer to go to West Virginia with Lumpkins. He said he will stay here as agent for Adalberto Lopez.