|Hollywood Park General Manager Eual G. Wyatt, Jr., left, and President Rick Baedeker, present jockey Tyler Baze the riding title award for the 2004 Hollywood Park Spring/Summer Meet|
Baze, 21, became the youngest jockey to clinch a Hollywood Park Spring/Summer riding title since Laffit Pincay Jr. won his first Hollywood Park title at age 21 in 1968. Baze rode two winners on the closing-day program and finished the meet with 59 victories, including upsets in the Grade II Sunset and the Grade I Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap aboard Sabiango in June.
Star Over the Bay, trained by Mike Mitchell, was claimed for a partnership for $80,000 here May 16. He finished second, beaten a neck, under Corey Nakatani in the Dallas Turf Cup in mid-June, before surprising 4-5 favorite Continuously with his determined stretch run Sunday.
Continuously, beaten a nose in the 2003 Hollywood Turf Cup but awarded the win in the Grade I event through the disqualification of stablemate Epicentre, seemed to have Star Over the Bay measured as the field turned for home in the 1 1/2-mile Sunset. He drew alongside the gray at the sixteenth pole, but could not get past him and was beaten a nose. Leprechaun Kid was third and Runaway Dancer finished fourth in the field of seven older horses.
"This horse is great," Baze said. "This was the second time I've ridden him and the thing was just to get him to relax. Mike Mitchell just told me to go out there and get the job done. He never gave me any instructions. He said he was pretty sure this horse could get a mile-and-a-half. I didn't know if he could get that distance, but today he got a nice breather and finished well.
"This has really been exciting for me," Baze added. "I won a big one yesterday in Minnesota and then a big one today along with the riding title. It couldn't have happened any better for me."
Star Over the Bay, a 6-year-old son of 1985 champion male turf horse Cozzene, was clocked in 2:26.47 over the Lakeside Turf Course. He carried 113 pounds while winning for the seventh time in 37 starts. Sunday's $90,000 payday - by far the biggest of his career - boosted his earnings to $338,353. He has made $130,000 in two starts for his new owners, which include David and Phil Kelly of Hacienda Heights, Carl VanBurger of Apple Valley and Landon Vaughn of San Diego.
"It's great," Mitchell said. "The distance wasn't really a concern. If you train him, you think that he can get this far. I really felt he just didn't like the turf course in Texas. It seemed like it was just a little too soft. I know Vladimir did a great job getting this horse ready to run. There wasn't a lot that I did to this horse, and I feel that he really likes this turf course out here. Because of that, 113, I thought he could get a mile-and-a-half."
Mitchell wasn't surprised Sunday, but he was when there were no other interested parties when he claimed Star Over the Bay in May.
" When he won for $62,500 with Tyler on him, I was really impressed with the race," Mitchell said. "From the quarter pole home, he just blew me away how easy he won. When he showed up for $80,000 off of a starter race, I thought that he must have been sound. So when he showed up for $80,000, I thought I'd be shaking with a lot of people for this horse, and I was the only one in there."
Star Over the Bay paid $8 as the second choice in the Sunset. Continuously, ridden by Alex Solis, returned $2.60 and $2.20, while the show price on Leprechaun Kid was $3.20.
"He just kind of hung the last 25 yards," Solis said of the favorite. "I thought he was going to win, but he couldn't quite get there."
Back to Articles