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Russell Avery Baze (born 7 August 1958 ) is a retired horse racing jockey. He holds the record for the most race wins in North American horse racing history, and is a member of the United States Racing Hall of Fame and the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame.
Born to an American family, Baze's father, Joe Baze, is a former jockey and trainer who was competing at Exhibition Park in Vancouver at the time of his birth giving him dual Canadian/American citizenship.
Baze began his racing career in Walla Walla, Washington in 1974 and won his first race that fall at the Yakima racetrack. By the early 1980s he was making a name for himself, winning racing titles at northern California racetracks including a victory in the 1981 California Derby. Baze went on to lead United States thoroughbred horse racing in victories ten times. He has won 36 riding titles at Bay Meadows racetrack in San Mateo, California and 27 titles at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, California.
After winning 400 or more races in a year for four consecutive years, Baze got his big break by being honored with a special Eclipse Award in 1995. Since then he has won 400 or more races in a year seven additional times; no other jockey has accomplished that feat more than three times.
In 1999, Baze was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and in 2002, he was voted the recipient of the prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award by his peers. Since the inauguration of the Isaac Murphy Award in 1995, presented annually by the National Turf Writers Association to the jockey with the highest winning percentage in North America, Baze has won it 13 of 14 years, coming in second in 2004.
On October 14, 1989, Baze was aboard Hawkster when that three-year-old colt set the Santa Anita Park track record for 11⁄2 miles on turf. Baze gained a lot more fame in the fourth race at Bay Meadows on December 1, 2006, by setting the world's all-time record for most career victories, passing jockey Laffit Pincay Jr., by winning career race 9,531 aboard Butterfly Belle, owned by Jim Pitzer Sr. of Washington. Among other noteworthy accomplishments, during the two days of October 17 and 18, 2007, Baze won eleven races.
Although he had won every other stakes race at Golden Gate Fields, Russell had never won the track's most prestigious race: the San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile. That changed on April 24, 2010 when he took the race on Bold Chieftain from the pacesetter, Monterey Jazz.
On February 1, 2008, at Golden Gate Fields, Baze rode Two Step Cat to a photo finish victory in the third race to become the first North American rider to win 10,000 races. On August 14, 2010, in the fourth race at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California, Baze rode Separate Forest, a first-time starter, to his 11,000th win.
On July 7, 2013, in Pleasanton, California, riding Handful of Pearls, Baze won the final race on the last day of the Alameda County Fair, making it his 12,000th win and his 4th win of the day.
Baze and his wife Tami have four children. Their daughter Trinity is married to former jockey Kyle Kaenel, whose father, Jack Kaenel, won the Preakness Stakes at age 16.
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- "Russell Avery Baze: Horse Racing Jockey" HorseRacing.com 12 May 2011
- "Baze Becomes Racing's All-Time Leading Rider!". The Associated Press. 2006-12-01. Retrieved 2006-12-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Russell Baze". State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame. 2019-12-20. Retrieved 2019-12-20. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-05-31. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)