Jockey Russell Baze, who has the most career victories in North American Thoroughbred racing history, announced his retirement Monday, effective immediately.
Baze, 57, has had 53,578 mounts, compiling 12,842 first-place finishes, 9,600 seconds and 7,855 thirds and $199.3 million in purse earnings during a 42-year career.
Baze, a native of Vancouver, was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2012. His fellow jockeys honored him with the George Woolf Memorial Award in 2002, and he was given a Special Eclipse Award in 1995 for becoming the first jockey to win 400 or more races for four years in a row.
Baze won his first race on Oct. 28, 1974, at Yakima Meadows in Yakima, Wash. He posted his final victory Saturday in the 10th race at Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley, Calif.
Baze overtook Laffit Pincay Jr. as North America’s top rider by wins when he recorded career victory No. 9,531 on Dec. 1, 2006, at Bay Meadows in San Mateo, Calif. He is the only jockey to win 400 or more races for seven straight years, from 1992 to 1998.
“For decades, Russell dominated the jockey standings at Golden Gate Fields and other Northern California tracks,” Joe Morris, senior vice president of west coast operations for the Stronach Group, which owns Golden Gate Fields, said in a statement. “His 12,842 wins in North America is a record that may never be broken.”