05/18/2012 2:37PM

Tyler Baze return on hold after arrest


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Jockey Tyler Baze’s expected return to riding this spring following a suspension last summer has been postponed indefinitely after he was arrested on a misdemeanor charge in Monrovia Calif., on Tuesday.

Officials with the Monrovia Police Department on Thursday would not state the nature of the arrest, citing a privacy policy. According to a person familiar with the case, Baze was arrested for an alcohol-related offense.

The arrest casts doubt on whether Baze will be restored to good standing in the near future. The Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s outstanding apprentice of 2000, Baze is currently suspended by the racing board for failing to take a Breathalyzer test at Del Mar last summer.

Baze was arrested at 9:25 p.m. Pacific on Tuesday and released at 5:50 a.m. on Wednesday. Bail was set at $250. It was his third arrest in 2012 by Monrovia police, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept.

Baze was arrested on Feb. 27 and on April 25 on unknown charges.

California Horse Racing Board investigators declined to discuss Baze’s case on Thursday.

Baze, 29, did not return a phone call on Thursday.

In a decision issued last October by Los Alamitos stewards, Baze was suspended 90 days, retroactive to Sept. 1, 2011, and instructed to complete a 30-day in-house alcohol counseling program at a rehabilitation facility before a possible reinstatement to riding.

The suspension was issued after Baze was cited for failing to abide by a testing agreement, conducted detrimental to racing, and for lying to Del Mar stewards about the circumstances of a missed Breathalyzer test on Sept. 1.

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, seeking his whereabouts.

Baze could have started the residency rehabilitation program last fall, but did not so until early March after he was hospitalized on the first weekend of the month because of an alcohol-related illness. The hospitalization occurred shortly after his Feb. 27 arrest.

Baze approached Los Alamitos stewards in April about a possible reinstatement. An initial hearing was conducted, but a second hearing, to discuss reinstatement terms, was postponed by the rider in late April.

As of Thursday, it was unclear how the case would proceed, and what it would take for Baze to regain the ability to ride. “He’s back to square one,” said one person familiar with the case.

Baze has won 1,809 races. He missed more than six months of riding, from late July 2010 to April 2011, after he suffered facial injuries in an accident behind the starting gate at Del Mar.

Last spring and summer, he slowly regained leading mounts, winning such major races as the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park aboard Crown of Thorns and the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on Ultra Blend in early August.

When Baze completed the in-house residency program earlier this spring, some people close to the rider emphasized that the immediate priority was his long-term well-being and not necessarily being reinstated to ride.