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Baze Poised To Make Run at Riding Title

December 16, 2003
By Jay Privman
Daily Racing Form

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - With Julie Krone out for the rest of the Hollywood Park meeting and Patrick Valenzuela having missed the past week, Tyler Baze has crept to within striking distance of the leading riders entering the final week of the fall meeting. He has a terrific chance to gain further ground on Thursday, especially with live mounts in a pair of second-level allowance races that highlight the midweek card. In the seven-furlong sixth race, Baze rides Pohave, who returns to his favorite game, sprinting, after a poor try going two turns in his last start. Baze comes back a half-hour later with Chapeau, a filly who will try to use her late-running style to capture the seventh race, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint.

Baze entered the week with 19 victories, four behind Krone and three back of Valenzuela.

Pohave is making his third start of the meeting. He was second in a swift race for the level Nov. 15, but regressed in a Nov. 29 route. He figures to get a perfect trip after breaking from post 6 in the seven-horse field.

Doug O'Neill, who trains Pohave, also sends out Smile N Wildcat, whose wicked early speed makes him the one to catch. Smile N Wildcat finished six lengths behind Pohave on Nov. 15, but he lost his best chance at the start when he stumbled badly. With a clean break, he could prove an elusive target.

Fonz's drew the rail for his first start since May 26. He has an enviable record at his home track, having finished in the money in 8 of 9 starts at Hollywood Park, but his career has been pockmarked by lengthy absences.

Chapeau, who drew the outside post in a field of seven in the seventh, most recently finished second in a similar allowance race at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting. That race was on the dirt, however. Chapeau is winless in six grass races, but she has finished second twice.

Annabelly and Brocky's Dream both won turf sprints on this course earlier this meeting. Annabelly easily disposed of a first-level allowance field while recording her second victory from just four starts. She has plenty of upside.

Brocky's Dream beat a $50,000 claiming field on Dec. 6, and was claimed out of the race by owner Michael Gill and trainer Nick Canani. Because of the optional-claiming conditions of Thursday's race, she gains eligibility by being entered for a $62,500 tag.

Xtrasensory was second in a similar spot last month. She won a turf sprint at Hollywood during the summer.

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