10/15/2006 11:00PM

Sometime this meet, Baze should break record

Email

SAN MATEO, Calif. - The 46-day fall meeting that begins Wednesday will provide a historic chapter for Bay Meadows, a track whose future still remains in doubt. As of Monday, Russell Baze was 46 victories from surpassing Laffit Pincay Jr.'s world record of 9,530 victories. At his current rate, Baze should be the world's leading rider by the time the meet ends on Dec. 18.

"We hope and have every expectation he'll break the record here," Bay Meadows president F. Jack Liebau said. "We've got a Russell Baze bobblehead giveaway on Saturday, and we're having a contest for fans to pick the date and race when he'll break the record."

Baze will not be riding at Bay Meadows on Friday or Saturday because he will be in Maryland to ride Victorina in the Grade 3, $200,000 Safely Kept at six furlongs at Laurel.

"We find that very disappointing," Liebau said. "We had been planning this in cooperation with Russell and his agent, Ray Harris, for some time. We hope to have a pre-recorded message from Russell that we'll be able to play on TV's here."

Baze, too, was disappointed that the commitment would take him out of town, but said he would cooperate in any other way with the promotion and said he was pleased with how the bobblehead turned out.

Liebau insisted that Bay Meadows's future had not been decided, backing away from a statement he made in a California Horse Racing Board dates committee meeting that was interpreted by many in attendance as suggesting Bay Meadows would close after 2007.

"I just don't know," he said. "I don't know anybody who knows the answer."

The owner of Bay Meadows, the Bay Meadows Land Co., has said it has long-term plans to develop the land on which the track sits.

Nine stakes are scheduled for the meeting, including the $100,000 William P. Kyne Breeders' Cup Express on Saturday. Other highlights are the Grade 3, $150,000 Bay Meadows BC Handicap on Oct. 28, the Grade 3, $100,000 Bay Meadows Derby on Nov. 5, and the $100,000 California Distaff Turf Championship on Dec. 9.

There were 10 nominees for the Kyne, including Vaca City Flyer, whose trainer, Art Sherman, said she would run in the Kyne instead of competing in next week's Cal Cup.