Baze rode both horses for trainer Laura Pinelli in the two legs of the Marathon National Trials, the qualifying events for the $175,000 Marathon National, the richest 870-yard race in the world, which takes place on Dec. 14.
"(Trainer D. Wayne Lukas) asked if I would ride a couple of Quarter Horses that his ex-wife (Pinelli) trains and I thought it'd be fun, so I said I would," Baze said. "I worked them a couple weeks ago and liked them both so it worked out great."
In the first event, Baze guided Heros Call to a 1 ¼-length victory over six rivals, including the Thoroughbred Santano, who is trained by leading Southern California conditioner Doug O'Neill. The gelded son of Grand Slam out of the Quarter Horse mare Ruidoso broke quickly from the gate and took command after the first call, holding on for the victory in a final time of :44.665 and returning $6.40. Santano finished fifth.
In the second event, Baze was aboard Oak Canyon, who battled for the lead and took the lead on the turn, only to be overtaken in deep stretch to finish second by three-quarters of a length to the Thoroughbred gelding Johnny Be Good.
"I had a lot of fun," Baze said. "With Thoroughbreds you have time to think about things, but with Quarter Horses it's just go, go, go. It all goes so fast so hard to remember exactly what happened."
With their finishes, both of Baze's mounts reached the finals, but the jockey said he'd be aboard Heros Call.
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