Preliminary autopsy results on jockey Michael Baze, who was found dead in his vehicle May 10 in the Churchill Downs stable area, point to no anatomical cause of death pending a toxicology report.
According to Jefferson County coroner Barbara Weakley-Jones, it could be four to six weeks before a discovery is made as to exactly how and why the 24-year-old jockey died. Weakley-Jones said blood and urine samples had been taken from Baze to look for toxicology such as alcohol or other drugs in his system.
“Hopefully something will show up like a drug, but we don’t know that for sure; that’s the reason why it’s inconclusive, because we won’t know for awhile,” Weakley-Jones explained.
Since Baze was found in his vehicle, he was tested for carbon monoxide poisoning during the autopsy, but there was no evidence to indicate that could have been the cause of his death.
“There was not good evidence of carbon monoxide… you can see that generally in a body when you do the autopsy, because it turns the blood cherry red,” said Weakley Jones. “It doesn’t mean it’s always seen, though and sometimes we’re fooled—our eyes aren’t as good as we think they are.
“They’re doing that (toxicology) test too to look for carbon monoxide since he was in a car that was running. But we really don’t expect that and we’re probably going to rule it out.”
According to court reports, Baze was scheduled for a preliminary hearing May 12 on a cocaine charge.
The native of Glendora, Calif., was scheduled for a preliminary hearing after being charged with first-degree possession of cocaine in November.
Louisville police arrested him Nov. 18 in a parking lot near downtown after he gave a detective consent to search his 2010 Dodge, according to the arrest warrant. The warrant said the detective found a small baggie of suspected cocaine in Baze's pants pocket.
Some of those closest to Baze say they are shocked by his death.
Peter Artieda, a fellow jockey and best man in Baze's wedding, was planning to see Baze May 9 but said Baze canceled their plans after oversleeping.
“We were supposed to actually hang out Monday during the day,” Artieda told The Associated Press May 11. “He was supposed to ride at Indiana (Downs) Monday night. He had texted me, actually, Monday afternoon saying that he fell asleep and that he was sorry that he didn't get back to me.”
Artieda said he saw Baze last week in the Churchill Downs jockey's room and felt nothing was out of the ordinary with his friend.
“I couldn't sense anything,” he said. “Honestly, to me, he never said or showed any stresses.”