Vic Stauffer, track announcer at Oaklawn Park, which ended its first extended race meet last Saturday, has begun booking mounts for jockey Tyler Baze at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
Stauffer, who has also worked as a racing official, had previously served as agent for Baze in California. Stauffer had stints booking mounts for Joel Rosario and Martin Garcia while in California, where he also called races at Hollywood Park until it closed in 2013.
“It's very exciting to reunite with Tyler,” said Stauffer. “We worked together with great success 10 years ago. But I want to make it very clear that I am the announcer at Oaklawn Park, I love Oaklawn Park, and hope to be the voice of their races for many, many years. Tyler is totally aware of that and will be represented by another agent during that time.”
Baze, a 36-year-old native of Seattle, Wash., who won an Eclipse Award as outstanding apprentice rider in 2000, moved his tack from California to Oaklawn in March when Santa Anita officials closed the track temporarily to evaluate the racing surface and enact new safety protocols following a spike in equine fatalities. Baze initially picked up the services of agent Joe Santos.
He won 8 of 55 races at the Hot Springs, Ark., track before moving to Keeneland and then to Churchill Downs, which opened its summer meet on April 27. He's 4-of-26 at Churchill. Among his wins at Oaklawn was a nose triumph in the Fifth Season Stakes on April 14 aboard 10-1 longshot Fight On for Doug O'Neill. That same day, Baze came up a nose short of upsetting odds-on favorite Midnight Bisou while riding Canadian champion Escape Clause for owner-trainer Don Schnell in the G1 Apple Blossom Handicap.
Stauffer said Baze intends to set up shop in Kentucky for the remainder of the year, riding at Churchill, Ellis Park, Kentucky Downs and the Churchill and Keeneland fall meets. He reiterated that Baze will have another agent when the jockey returns to Oaklawn next January.
Baze has ridden 2,620 career winners from 19,067 mounts for mount earnings in excess of $117 million. He is a member of a family with deep roots in racing in the Pacific Northwest that includes his second cousin, retired Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze, who leads all North American riders with 12,842 career wins.
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