American jockey Russell Baze has made it into the history books as the rider to have won the most races ever. The 48-year-old from Vancouver in Canada rode his 9,531st winner at Bay Meadows in Northern California last week.
Baze has been racing for 32 years, mainly on the middle-tier racing circuit in California, with few prestigious wins to bring him to the world’s attention. He has only ridden twice in the Kentucky Derby and three-times in the Breeders’ Cup, but quantity over quality appears to have finally paid off for the American.
Baze took the record over from the retired Laffit Pincay Jnr, who had held the all-time record for six years, having passed Bill Shoemaker’s mark in December 1999.
Ouija Board prepares for final race
Ouija Board’s fans are preparing to say a final farewell to the outstanding filly on Sunday when she aims to produce back-to-back victories in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin. The current Cartier Horse of the Year will be retiring to stud after the race. Frankie Dettori has described the filly as feeling “awesome” after riding her final piece of work on the track.
Celestial Gold and Impek miss King George
Kauto Star looks like the favourite for the King George VI Chase following the news that both Impek and Celestial Gold will miss the big race on Boxing Day. Impek is currently suffering from a lameness that will keep him away from the race track until the spring, while heat has been found in one of Celestial Gold’s legs, ruling him out for the rest of the season. Connections are hopeful Celestial Gold will be back in action for the 2007-8 season.
Iris’s Gift retires
The popular hurdler Iris’s Gift has been retired from racing after breaking down on the gallops on Wednesday morning, as the winner of the 2004 Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival seriously damaged his suspensory ligament. Iris’s Gift won 25 races and £340,000 in win and place money during his career.
Reluctant dad sires first winner
Connections of one of racing’s most unenthusiastic sires finally have something to celebrate. War Emblem, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes during his racing career, had previously proved extremely unsucessful as a father of champions since retiring to stud.
He finally had his first winner last week in Clan Emblem, who won by eight lengths in a race in Tokyo, but remains extremely choosey about his mates. He has sired only four foals to date and despite being offered more than 100 mares this season, covered only one, who was later found not to be in foal.