Poll

Which team will quarterback Alex Smith play for next season?

Leading Off: At 54, Baze stays in the winner's circle

Published: Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 - 11:50 am

Some athletes never seem to slow down – even at age 54.

Russell Baze rides out 2012 much as he has any other year – on top. The Hall of Fame jockey leads the nation in victories – 369 – from 1,120 starts. That's 40 more wins (in 149 fewer rides) than runner-up Ramon Dominguez, the nation's top rider by earnings with more than $25 million.

Baze ranks 37th nationally in purse money at $5.8 million, a reflection of his market. Baze rides in Northern California; Dominguez – the Eclipse Awards winner in 2010 and 2011 as the nation's outstanding jockey – rides in New York.

Although he doesn't get the classiest horses, Baze continues to win at a 33 percent clip; in 69 percent of his races, he finishes in the money. Both are national bests.

A perennial leader at Northern California tracks, Baze is back at his home base of Golden Gate Fields, where he's won 44 riding titles. The new meet, which opened Wednesday, will be highlighted Feb. 16 by the El Camino Real Derby, a race Baze has won eight times.

North America's all-time-winningest jockey, Baze is closing in on more milestones. He's ridden nearly 50,000 races. As of Wednesday, his total was 49,895 starters. Of those, he's won 11,806 times.

In 2013, Baze will zero in on 12,000 wins. If he stays healthy, expect that milestone next summer – perhaps at the State Fair.

What to watch

NBA, Kings vs. Knicks, 7 p.m., Ch. 10: Will DeMarcus Cousins get out of Keith Smart's doghouse?

Today's poll

Which team will quarterback Alex Smith play for next season?

• Arizona Cardinals

• Philadelphia Eagles

• Jacksonville Jaguars

• New York Jets

• 49ers

• Other

Vote above or leave your comments in the comment field; or, go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Thursday's results

Should DeMarcus Cousins play in tonight's game against the Knicks?

• Yes, they need him: 20%

• No, keep him on bench: 80%

Total votes: 478

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Debbie Arrington



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