Facial Fractures Hospitalize Tyler Baze

Rider was injured at Del Mar when mount reared at the starting gate July 24.

Jockey Tyler Baze, who suffered facial fractures July 24 when his mount in the fifth race at Del Mar reared up and threw his head back into Baze's face, remained in Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California, a day later.

The incident occurred as Baze and his mount Night Justice were approaching the starting gate. He sustained several orbital fractures around the right eye and a broken nose.

Vic Stauffer, Baze's agent, said Dr. Jeffery Umansky, who tended to similar injuries sustained by jockey Rafael Bejarano after a spill on Del Mar's opening day last year, checked out Baze and indicated the rider might need some surgery. That will be not determined until swelling recedes in the injured area. Stauffer said Baze could be released from the hospital either late July 25 or the next day, depending on the doctor's decision after seeing Baze again.

Stauffer said that depending on whether surgery is needed or not, Baze, a member of a well-known racing family from the Northwest that includes all-time winning jockey Russell Baze, could be out of action from three to eight weeks. The 27-year-old native of Seattle was the Eclipse Award apprentice champion in 2000 and is the winner of 21 stakes races at Del Mar.

Stauffer said Bejarano was instrumental in getting an agitated Baze to relax at the hospital several hours after the accident.

"I was amazed at what I saw," Stauffer said. "Rafael was holding Tyler's hand and he had his other hand on Tyler's forehead. When bleeding from Tyler's broken nose would develop, Rafael would take a tissue and wipe it away. It was amazing; he got Tyler to become much more comfortable with the situation."

Joining Bejarano in the visit were fellow jockeys Alonso Quinonez and Jose Verenzuela.