03/03/2012 1:55PM

Tyler Baze expected to enter rehab shortly


ARCADIA, Calif. – Tyler Baze, who has not ridden since last summer because of a suspension for failing to take a Breathalyzer test, was hospitalized on Friday night because of an alcohol-related illness, according to a friend of the family.

The Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s leading apprentice of 2000, Baze was expected to be hospitalized over the weekend. He is expected to seek counseling upon his release, according to his former agent, Ivan Puhich.

“They’re going to take him to a rehab center,” Puhich said on Saturday morning. “I went by and saw him this morning.”

Puhich said he did not press Baze for details of his hospitalization.

“I didn’t want to put pressure on him,” he said. “I told him I’m his friend and I could do what he wants. He’s a good guy.”

Baze’s wife, Christina, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Baze, a 29-year-old former leading rider in Southern California, was suspended last October for 90 days, retroactive to Sept. 1, for failing to take a Breathalyzer test at Del Mar. The jockey was cited for 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.

As part of the suspension, Baze was required to attend a 30-day residency rehabilitation for counseling before he could be reinstated to ride.

The Oct. 28 ruling also stated that Baze must undergo counseling administered by the Winner’s Foundation, an organization that supports racing industry participants with substance abuse problems.

The suspension was heard by Los Alamitos stewards George Slender, Albert Christiansen, and James Dreyer because Del Mar stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, and Tom Ward were actively involved in Baze’s case on the morning of Sept. 1, seeking his whereabouts.

In recent months, fellow jockeys and officials with the Jockeys’ Guild have reached out to Baze in an effort to coax the rider into rehabilitation, according to Darrell Haire, the western regional manager of the Guild.

“I’ve had numerous meetings with Tyler,” said Haire, a member of the board of directors of the Winner’s Foundation. “He’s not been listening to people who love and care for him.

“We’ve spent a lot of time with him. We’re all there for him. We don’t know what to do. Everyone is doing what they can to help him.”