Another Baze Jockeying Into The Spotlight
With 61 wins, Tyler, 17, among country's top apprentice riders
March 31, 2000
by Dan Raley
He might be an Eclipse off the old block.
From Washington's leading horse-racing family, the latest Baze -- Tyler -- is making a serious bid to become the nation's winningest apprentice jockey, which would land him a coveted Eclipse Award.
Entering the week, Baze, 17, was 15th in the overall jockey standings with 61 victories. Only one other first-year rider, Kevin Radke, had more, 66, with Radke's total coming in 21 more starts.
"He's been riding horses since he was a baby," Baze's father, Earl, said from the family home in Graham. "He's always been a good athlete, and I just knew he would be good at it."
Baze rides seven days a week -- Friday through Tuesday at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, and Wednesday and Thursday at Santa Anita near Los Angeles, commuting via jet.
The teenager started riding in December, winning his fifth race. He has twice won four races in a day, a significant achievement for a rookie jockey.
The surname should be familiar to tracks across the nation. Baze's cousin, Russell, has won several Eclipse awards as the nation's leading jockey and currently ranks second in the standings with 90 victories. Baze's uncle, Gary, was a longtime fixture at Longacres and the state's winningest rider, and he might resume riding this year. Also in the saddle, there's been Dale, Mike, Cammie and Vickie Aragon Baze.
Tyler Baze has been home-schooled the past six years to allow him to pursue his racing dreams. He'd be a junior at Spanaway's Bethel High otherwise.
The younger Baze would have been a regular at Emerald Downs this spring had the Auburn track offered more than its standard four days of live racing. Instead, he will maintain his back-breaking pace between the two sunbelt states. And if that setup ultimately doesn't provide him with enough mounts, Baze might try New York.
Either way, he intends to ride as much as he can. "He wants that Eclipse Award," his father said.