All-time leading jockey Russell Baze won his final race at Bay Meadows, known over the years as "Baze Meadows" due to his long record of success there, as the San Mateo track's last winter/spring meet came to an end May 11.
Baze guided Hold the Advantage to an exciting come-from-behind victory in seventh race.
The 49-year-old Baze will be competing in an international jockey competition in Europe and isn't planning to ride during the 10-day San Mateo County Fair meeting Aug. 6-17. Barring a change in circumstances, that brief stand is expected to conclude racing at the 74-year-old track. The facility is to be demolished to make room for a redevelopment project later this year.
"I really wanted to go out with a win," said Baze, who has an all-time record of 10,138 victories in his career through May 11. "I'm sad to see this place close, but they've been talking about it closing for 20 years. Change is inevitable but not always for the better. I'll miss it."
Baze, who broke Laffit Pincay Jr.'s record for career victories at Bay Meadows Dec. 1, 2006, wrapped up his 40th career riding title at the track some time ago. He concluded the 70-day stand with 130 victories.
Jerry Hollendorfer saddled 55 winners at the meeting to earn his 37th straight training title at Bay Meadows. Hollendorfer edged Steve Miyadi, who won three races on the final day and finished the meeting with 54 victories.
Baze came up a neck short aboard Unspoken Word in the $57,220 Mother's Day Handicap, which was won by Wild Promises before a closing-day crowd of 8,203.
Favored Wild Promises, ridden by David Lopez, wore down Unspoken Word to claim the victory for trainer Greg Gilchrist and owner Harry J. Aleo. She completed the 1 1/16-mile event on firm turf in 1:43.06 and paid $5.20.
Thoroughbred racing in the Bay Area moves to the East Bay, where Golden Gate Fields in Albany will open its 2008 spring season May 14.
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