Baze Wins Isaac Murphy Award--Again

Baze Wins Isaac Murphy Award--Again
Photo: Benoit
Russell Baze, surrounded by fellow riders after winning the George Woolf Award in 2002.
After failing to win the award in 2004 for the first time, Russell Baze has reclaimed the Isaac Murphy Award presented by the National Turf Writers Association.

Baze won the award the first nine years it was presented but was unseated by Ramon Dominguez in 2004. Given to the jockey with the highest winning percentage (with a minimum of 500 mounts) during the year, the award was inaugurated in 1995.

In 2005, Baze had 1,246 mounts and won 375 races for a strike rate of 30.1%, according to Daily Racing Form statistics.

In 2004, Dominguez had 1,353 mounts and won 383 races for rate of 28.31%. Baze finished second, winning on 321 of 1,182 mounts for a 27.16% win percentage. In 2003, Baze topped the 30% mark for the first time when he won 30.17% of the time.

Rounding out the top 10 in 2005 were Ken Tohill (27.17%), Jerry Bailey (25.84%), Ramon Dominguez (25.53%), John Davila Jr. (24.84%), Travis Dunkelberger (23.6%), Quincy Welch (23.58%), Luis Perez (23.24%), Scott Spieth (23.11%) and Justin Stein (23.03%).

Baze has ridden 400 or more winners 11 of the past 13 years. He most likely would also have reached that plateau in 1999 and 2005, sidelined by injuries both years. He rode 375 last year.

He ended 2005 with 9,180 career wins, second only to Laffit Pincay Jr.'s 9,530. Baze was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 1999 and was honored with the George Woolf Award in 2002.

Baze won with 29.1% of his mounts in 1995, 28.3% in both 1996 and 1997, 27.6% in 1988, 28.1% in 1999, 27.2% in 2000, and 28.1% in 2001.

The Isaac Murphy Award is named in honor of the legendary 19th century black jockey who won with 44% of his career mounts.

Baze will receive his award later this year.

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