October 5, 2002
By Karen M. Johnson
Daily Racing Form
ELMONT, N.Y. - Tyler Baze, the winner of the 2000 Eclipse Award for top apprentice, will ride in New York for the first time on Sunday in the $250,000 Forest Hills Handicap.
Baze, who is based in Southern California, rides Avanzado, the likely favorite in the Grade 2 Forest Hills.
In a surprise to many, Baze won the Eclipse over New York rider Norberto Arroyo Jr. Last year, Baze was able to keep the momentum going in his first year as a journeyman, winning more than $6.5 million in purses and riding 197 winners. This year, things have cooled for Baze, who turns 20 on Oct. 19.
Through Thursday, he had won 69 races and purses totaling $2.4 million.
"We kind of figured this year would be slower," Baze said from California on Friday. "I hope by Christmas, I'm rolling again."
Baze has been on a roll with Avanzado, a 5-year-old who enters the Forest Hills off back-to-back wins, including a victory in the Pirates Bounty Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 7.
"I'm excited about him and have high expectations," Baze said. "He's very, very fast."
Baze flies to New York on Sunday morning and leaves later that evening, leaving him without any time for sightseeing.
"But it will be nice to ride at a new track and see what's out there and meet new people," he said.