Updated on 10/07/2012 12:38AM

Santa Anita: Tyler Baze delivers $112 upset in first day back race-riding

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Benoit & Associates
Tyler Baze rode his first race on Friday since August 2011.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Tyler Baze needed less than three hours to find the first winner of his comeback.

Returning from a suspension for substance-abuse problems, Baze won with his second and final mount at Santa Anita on Friday – the longshot Warren’s Sugarbuzz ($112.60) in the sixth race over six furlongs.

Baze was reinstated from a suspension last month by Los Alamitos stewards and began working horses in late September. He was suspended for failing to take a Breathalyzer test at Del Mar in September 2011.

With his first mount Friday, Baze finished ninth in the first race on Roulette It Roll. Warren’s Sugarbuzz was his second mount.

After the win, Baze expressed remorse over the events that kept him sidelined for more than a year.

“I’ve been getting my life straightened out,” Baze said. “I put myself in a bad situation. Right now, I need to focus on my day-to-day job.

“This is what I’ve lived to do and the only thing I know how to do.”

Warren’s Sugarbuzz races for owner-breeder Ben Warren and trainer Jorge Gutierrez. They earned Baze’s gratitude for giving him a chance in his comeback.

“Them putting me on is a big step in them having faith in me,” Baze said in the winner’s circle.

Best known for winning the Eclipse Award as the outstanding apprentice of 2000, Baze, 29, has been given a conditional license that requires frequent drug testing. As part of that agreement, Baze must check in with California Horse Racing Board investigators on a daily basis and is subject to random breath and urine tests.

Baze was suspended 90 days by Los Alamitos stewards last October after failing to abide by a testing agreement, conduct detrimental to racing, and for lying to Del Mar stewards about the circumstances of a missed Breathalyzer test on Sept. 1, 2011. In addition to the suspension, he was ordered to attend a 30-day residency treatment facility for alcoholism.

The case was heard by the Los Alamitos stewards because Del Mar stewards were actively involved in Baze’s case on the morning of Sept. 1.

Baze could have been reinstated to ride last December, but did not attend the 30-day in-house treatment required by stewards until earlier this year. He was hospitalized in early March because of an alcohol-related illness.

Baze, who has won 1,810 races, told Los Alamitos stewards last month that he was undergoing residency treatment for alcoholism at a clinic in Pasadena, Calif. Such treatment was required for Baze to be reinstated.  He met with Los Alamitos stewards on Sept. 22, seeking reinstatement.