ALBANY, Calif. (AP) – Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze has ridden the 50,000th thoroughbred race of his career.
The 54-year-old rider finished third in his historic race on Friday at Golden Gate Fields near San Francisco, although he was allowed in the winner’s circle afterward to pose for a photo. He swept the first three races on the eight-race card.
Baze notched 11,839 victories from his 50,000 mounts, and both totals are North American racing records, according to Equibase.
“I don’t think it’s any big thing just going out there that many times, but going out there and really being successful at it, that’s what is important,” he said.
Baze said he thinks he’s riding as well now as he ever has.
“I don’t think my physical skills have diminished any at all,” he said. “I get the odd ache and pain here and there but it’s manageable.”
Baze said he still has a great passion for riding races and doesn’t plan to quit anytime soon.
“I’m the kind of guy that likes playing games and winning,” he said. “And when I can do it against the younger guys, it kind of adds a little extra thrill to it. I figure in 2016 I’ll have 40 years in, and so that might be enough. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.”
Equibase, horse racing’s official recordkeeper, determined the distance of Baze’s races total more than 42,924 miles and the total elapsed time of those races equals nearly 48 days. Because the circumference of the earth is 24,901.55 miles, Equibase’s stats show that Baze has raced around the world 1.72 times.