Baze Muscles Past 'Shoe' On Win List

Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze won four races Saturday at Golden Gate Fields to surpass legendary Bill Shoemaker's career total with a big assist from the dam Shes Got the Facts.

Baze, 46, moved into second all-time on the victory list with 8,834 victories, behind only retired Laffit Pincay Jr. at 9,530.

"Russell the Muscle" tied Shoemaker's mark of 8,833 -- racing's equivalent of Babe Ruth's home-run record -- in the fifth race with El Prado's Boy.

Two races later, Baze passed Shoemaker with front-running Hollow Memories. Remarkably, El Prado's Boy, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old gelding, and Hollow Memories, a 6-year-old gelding bred in Maryland, are half-brothers produced by the Known Fact dam, Shes Got the Facts.

"Any time you can have your name spoken in the same breath as Bill Shoemaker, you're doing something right," Baze said. "I'm just tickled to death to have my name spoken in front of his now."

Inducted into racing's Hall of Fame in 1999, Baze has been riding 30 years, starting as a 16-year-old apprentice at Yakima Meadows in Washington. His first win came Oct. 28, 1974, aboard Oregon Warrior, who was trained by Russell's father, Joe Baze.

"Now that it's official, I'm glad it's over," Baze said. "I don't really think about it, but when I do it's like, holy mackerel, that's a lot of wins."
Baze passed Shoemaker at the same track where Shoemaker scored his first career victory in 1949.
"He was my idol," Baze said of Shoemaker. "He's the idol of every jock. He set the standard to match."
Baze, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, has led the nation in victories seven times: 2002 (431 wins), 2000 (412), 1996 (415), 1995 (448), 1994 (415), 1993 (410), and 1992 (433).

(Chart, Equibase)