Race riding is in the blood of Tyler Baze, who excelled as an apprentice in 2000 while competing on the Southern California circuit. His second cousin, Northern California jockey Russell Baze, received a special Eclipse Award in 1995, is a member of racing's Hall of Fame, and was a nominee for outstanding jockey of 2000. An uncle, Gary Baze, has been aboard more than 3,000 victorious horses. In addition, both Tyler Baze's mother and father, Carrie and Earl, were jockeys. An 18-year-old native of the Pacific Northwest, Tyler Baze worked as a groom and galloped horses at Emerald Downs in Washington state before launching his career as a jockey with the help of agent Ivan Puhich in 1999. On Halloween of that year, Baze captured his first race, guiding claimer Fleeting Wonder to a length victory at Santa Anita. He then spent time in Arizona before returning to California in the spring of 2000. Baze finished last year as North America's leading apprentice rider by number of wins, scoring 246 victories aboard 1,469 mounts, and he ranked 17th in the victory category among all jockeys. By earnings, he was the No. 2 apprentice, with $4,162,775 compared to leader Norberto Arroyo Jr.'s total of $6,973,578.