(from NTWA release)
Racing Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze, North America’s all-time leading rider who passed the 10,000-win plateau Feb. 1, earned his unprecedented 12th overall Isaac Murphy Award from the National Turf Writers Association for finishing the 2007 season with the highest winning percentage of any North American jockey.
The Northern California-based Baze, 49, who rode his milestone winner at Golden Gate Fields, won the first nine Isaac Murphy trophies and now collects his third straight after missing out to Ramon Dominguez in 2004.
Baze finished the 2007 season with a winning clip of 32.9% after winning 399 races from 1,211 mounts. Baze won easily over runner-up Ricky Frazier, who posted a 26% win rate, and third-place finisher Mario Gutierrez, who won with 25% of his mounts.
The NTWA will present the award to Baze later this year.
The Isaac Murphy Award is named in honor of the 19th century African American jockey who won with 44% of his career mounts. Jockeys need to have ridden a minimum of 500 races to be eligible for the award.
Baze became North America’s all-time leading jockey in December 2006 at Bay Meadows Race Course when he overtook fellow Hall of Fame member Laffit Pincay Jr. with his 9,531st career victory. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999, Baze also won a Special Eclipse Award in 1995.
Rounding out the top ten leading jockeys in 2007 by winning percentage were Jeremy Rose (24.3%), John Davila Jr. (24.2%), Glenn Corbett (23.8%), Dominguez (23.8%), Joe Crispin (23.5%), E. T. Baird (22.7%) and Alex Birzer (22.6%).
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