10/01/2010 4:34PM

Tyler Baze plans to return at Santa Anita


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Jockey Tyler Baze has ended plans for a comeback in 2010 while he continues to recover from facial injuries suffered at Del Mar in late July, according to his agent, Vic Stauffer.

Baze had hoped to be ready for the start of the Oak Tree at Hollywood Park meeting, which began Thursday, and then postponed his comeback to next weekend. He is now hoping to return for the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, which begins Dec. 26, Stauffer said.

“The healing process is not progressing as quickly as we had hoped and anticipated,” Stauffer said. “We feel very strongly it is going to end up being a full and complete recovery. It’s on the right track. It’s slower than we anticipated.”

Stauffer said that Baze is still recovering from the eye operation.

“He’s terribly upset,” Stauffer said.

Baze has worked horses in the last week, but the 27-year-old jockey was not ready to return to race riding, his agent said.

Baze suffered facial injuries in an accident at the starting gate at Del Mar on July 24. He was struck by the head of his mount and was hospitalized for a few days after surgery to have a fractured bone stabilized near an eye.

Santiago Reyes serving suspension

Jockey Christian Santiago Reyes began a 10-day suspension Thursday, one of eight time penalties he has amassed since May, and is unlikely to ride again until early January at Santa Anita, according to Hollywood Park stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, and Tom Ward.

At the start of the current Oak Tree meeting, Reyes had 66 days of unserved penalties for riding infractions since May and appears to have abandoned appeals of some of those penalties. According to the stewards, Reyes has left the United States for his native Puerto Rico. His agent, Tony Matos, and attorney, Bing Bush, were not available for comment Friday morning.

The champion apprentice jockey of 2009, Reyes has been issued penalties in recent months ranging from two three-day suspensions for causing interference to a 30-day penalty issued earlier this month for “weighing out with a prohibited item in his possession” at Hollywood Park in June. Reyes applied for a stay of that ruling to allow a hearing to be conducted, but the stay was denied by a court, according to Hollywood Park stewards.

It is unclear exactly when Reyes can return to riding, if he plans no further appeals. Last weekend, he was given two suspensions for causing interference at Fairplex Park – a three-day and five-day penalty – which will be served during racing days from Dec. 11-26.

Reyes has not been assigned dates for 13 days of penalties from earlier this year. Reyes appealed a 10-day and three-day penalty from Hollywood Park in May, and had the 10-day penalty reduced to five days by the California Horse Racing Board last month. The board did not alter the three-day penalty. In addition, Reyes has dropped an appeal of a five-day penalty issued at Del Mar, the stewards said.

Hollywood Park stewards indicated the dates of those penalties will stretch into early January of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting when issued.

Disappointing start to meeting

Thursday’s opening evening program of the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting drew disappointing business figures.

On a warm evening, the track drew an ontrack crowd of 4,279 who contributed to an ontrack handle of $666,910. The all-sources handle, including intertrack wagering throughout California and nationwide and account wagering sources, reached $4,524,976.

This is the first time that Hollywood Park has hosted the Oak Tree meeting, which was held at Santa Anita from 1969 to 2009. Last year at Santa Anita, the opening-day attendance on a Wednesday afternoon program was 17,239 and the all-sources handle was $6,590,679.

“I think the crowd was a little disappointing,” said Sherwood Chillingworth, Oak Tree’s executive vice president. “This is an experiment with the Thursday night concerts. We realize that the hardcore people will show up, but not many else.”

The current 22-day meeting runs through Oct. 31. Thursday’s program was the first of six night racing programs in October, which will include Oct. 8, Oct. 21-22, and Oct. 28-29. Each evening program is accompanied by a post-race concert designed to lure customers.

“We are testing the need for night racing,” Chillingworth said. “I think it’s a learning experiment.”

Fun Raiser goes for three in a row

Fund Raiser, who won her second consecutive race in the CERF Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 8, will try to extend her winning streak in Sunday’s $55,000 Louis Rowan Stakes for fillies and mares.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Fund Raiser is likely to be favored in a field of six that includes the third- and fifth-place finishers of the CERF Stakes – Minute Limit and Mother Ruth. Fund Raiser has drawn the outside post and is likely to stalk the pace.

Minute Limit was entered for Thursday’s Grade 3 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap but was scratched in favor of the Rowan, which is run over 6 1/2 furlongs.