Russell Baze

Russell Baze

Russell Baze Home for British Columbia Derby

Hall of Fame jockey rides Cherokee Notion for trainer Troy Taylor at Hastings Park.

Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze returns to his homeland when he rides Cherokee Notion in the $150,000 British Columbia Derby (Can-III) at Hastings Park Sept. 26.

The 52-year-old Baze, a lifetime winner of 11,036 races through Sept. 22, is a native of Vancouver. His father, Joe, was a longtime horseman at the old Exhibition Park.

“I’m looking forward to returning to Vancouver,” Baze said recently. “The people of British Columbia always make me feel welcome.”

Baze rides Cherokee Notion in the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds for leading Hastings Park trainer Troy Taylor and owners Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella. He has two other stakes mounts on the program and will also be available for an autograph session on the tarmac outside the winner's circle.

Cherokee Notion, a British Columbia-bred son of Black Minnaloushe, has finished in the money in six of seven starts in 2010 and is coming off a second-place finish as the favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Richmond Derby over a sloppy Hastings track Sept. 6.

The gelding is one of two in the 11-horse field trained by Taylor for Todd and Kinsella. The other, Prince Intent, won a 1 1/16-mile restricted stakes at Hastings Aug. 25. More than half the field last raced in the Richmond Derby, although the winner, Don'twaitforme, is not among them.

The British Columbia Derby headlines the biggest weekend of racing during the year at the small northwest track. Eight stakes worth more than $500,000 are being offered over the two days.

Distorted Dave, a distant third-place finisher in the Canadian Derby (Can-III) at Northlands Park in his most recent start Aug. 21 for leading Southern California trainer John Sadler, also figures to get plenty of attention.

Trainer Dino Condilenios has entered three for owner Swift Thoroughbreds, led by Ain, third in the Richmond Derby, and Smart Spending, a runaway 3 1/4-length winner in his maiden claiming debut effort Sept. 10.

Craig MacPherson is represented by Charterhill, who has won three of six starts in 2010, and Foxcreek, making his stakes debut after winning the first two races of his career.