Baze, Garcia Tie in Bay Meadows Jockey Race
Updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2006 5:55 PM
Posted: Sunday, February 5, 2006 8:16 PM
Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze gained a share of his 35th riding title at Bay Meadows when he and apprentice Martin Garcia both won two races on Sunday's closing-day program at the 2005-06 holiday meeting.
Baze has now won 27 consecutive riding titles at the San Mateo, Calif. track.
Baze and Garcia both won 47 races during the 31-day season. Baze had 168 mounts while Garcia rode 153.
"I wouldn't lose any sleep if I lost, but it's always nice to keep the spot on the top of the pile," said Baze.
"I just try to do good," said the soft spoken Garcia, who earned a share of the title by hustling Sloat Blvd ($5.60) to a hard-fought victory over Bear Cub in the ninth and final race of the season.
"Whether I win or not, I try to do my best."
Garcia, a 20-year-old native of Veracruz, Mexico, has only been riding since August. Baze, like most observers, believes Garcia has the chance to be something special.
"There's nothing not to like about him," said Baze. "He listens well, he's a nice kid, and he's a good rider, too."
Garcia literally picked himself up off the turf to claim a piece of the riding crown. He went down in the third race Sunday when his mount, Rare Request, disarticulated his right front ankle at the top of the stretch and fell. Garcia was very fortunate to escape injury.
"People told me when something like that happens to stay on the ground and don't move," said Garcia. "I cleaned my mind of it after it happened and just tried to relax."
Garcia's tremendous success has prompted much speculation that he will leave the Bay Area to ride at the major tracks in Southern California. Although Garcia said he plans to ride at Golden Gate Fields when the Albany track opens its 2006 spring meeting Wednesday.
"I'm not going to move right now," said Garcia. "I'm staying here. I'll know when it's time to go."
Jerry Hollendorfer extended his streak of consecutive training titles at Bay Meadows to 32 by saddling 34 winners. Hollendorfer won four of the seven stakes run at the meet.
Art Sherman took second in the trainer standings with 24 wins, and Steve Miyadi was third with 17.
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