An uncle, Gary Baze, was also a jockey and one of his cousins is all-time leading rider Russell Baze. Baze, a Washington native, began his riding career as a 16-year-old when his cousin Tyler Baze, also a well-known jockey in the southern California circuit, encouraged him to try the sport. He once served an 11-month stint as agent for Patrick Valenzuela, whose substance abuse issues have made headlines throughout his troubled career. The trainers liked Baze for this nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic, liked him for his class, his youthful exuberance, and his family ties to the West Coast’s legendary family of riding Bazes. He was charged with first-degree possession of cocaine by the Louisville police after being arrested Nov. 18 in a parking lot near downtown, according to court records, and he was supposed to appear at a hearing Thursday. Baze had been riding since he was 16, and was the leading rider at Arlington Park last year, the Associated Press reported. *** They went to AA meetings and pumped through workouts together. According to reports, friends and acquaintances said Baze had been depressed over a separation with his wife. The jockey’s personal problems surfaced nationally in 2005, when he flew to Hoosier Park to ride Indiana Derby starter Southern Africa for Mike Puhich. He was hoping a fresh start and a change of scenery might kick-start Baze’s career. The pressure began to outweigh the positives. Churchill Downs spokesperson John Asher said Baze comes from a family of horse jockeys – Baze's second cousin was Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze, and his uncle was a retired jockey. Gary Baze is Longacres’s career leading rider, and another cousin, Tyler Baze, was the 2000 champion apprentice jockey and is a mainstay on the Southern California circuit. Baze won another jockey title, and he rode well enough this spring to finish fourth in the standings at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. His top mounts included Congrats, Areyoutalkintome, and Sharp Lisa. On May 10, 2011, Baze's body was found inside his Cadillac Escalade in the stable area of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s funny how fast you grow up, Baze recalled. In 2007, Baze, then 20, became the youngest jockey since Bill Shoemaker in 1950 to win a riding title at Hollywood Park. That 24-7 grind went on 365 days a year with no breaks, no slack, no room to breathe. Learn More or Download the App, Improbable Leads Baffert Trio in Breeders' Cup Classic, Monomoy Girl, Swiss Skydiver to Clash in BC Distaff, Strong European Contingent Lines Up for BC Turf, Presence of Stanozolol KOs Princess Secret From BC, Princess Noor Tops Talented BC Juvenile Fillies Field, Authentic, Tiz the Law Set for Classic Rematch, Compounding Pharmacy Admits Guilt in Federal Case, Plus News, Analysis, Entries, Results & Replays, Multiple Graded Stakes Winner Yorkton to Crestwood, TCA to Host Online Auction of Breeders' Cup Halters, Equibase Adds Summary Performance Data to App. Every athlete has goals and dreams, and Baze is no exception. Michael Baze understood the hard life of a race rider. “You’re separated from your family and making more money than you’ve ever seen, and the wrong role models latch on to you, and you don’t have the social skill to recognize it,” said Bailey, now an analyst for ESPN and ABC Sports. For Baze, there was one problem with that plan. Tyler Baze is having a very strong Oak Tree @ Santa Anita meet. He came from a family of them. His goal was to ride well at Del Mar, and he finished the season Sept. 5 with 19 winners. But Baze, who rode Nehro to his only victory, on Feb. 21, was replaced for the Arkansas and Kentucky Derbys by Corey Nakatani. If hindsight is 20-20, his vision is now crystal clear. Agent Ronnie Ebanks, a good friend of Puhich’s, had come to California with young rider Joe Talamo. Michael Baze after his victory in the Cal National Snow Chief Stakes in 2008. That could have been the end of the story. I'll never take success for granted again.”, Download Today's Edition Baze left California to train in Chicago last year, winning the Arlington Park title. Puhich had always planned to turn Baze’s book over to Ebanks when he retired. He understood the rigors of making weight. Ebanks was Baze’s last agent in California and had engineered his move to the Midwest. “It was wake up, work horses, ride, fly, wake up, work horses, ride, fly…” “He wanted to come back to California, and I thought he had found his path back,” Ebanks said. Nehro was the runner-up in both races. His father, Michael B., rode at Longacres, a racetrack in Washington State that is now closed, and his grandfather was a longtime trainer there. Despite initial reports, Baze never rode Nehro at the Kentucky Derby. KONKOL COLUMN: Pastor Bob Neuman didn't let falling in an open sewer hole stop him from finishing a funeral service. “It was a lot of work,” Baze remembered. It didn’t happen. The process was all-consuming. II) on Kela. In 2000, another talented rider was not as fortunate. “He was a sweet and beautiful kid that I thought we’d be talking about for a long time.”. The 25-year-old jockey does not like to talk about his struggles – would anyone? "Honestly, to me, he never said or showed any stresses.". 100801482, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Cypress), Cypress, Orange County, California, USA ; Maintained by Frances Cope (contributor 46934860) . For a brief time, Baze's wife, Kelly, had been a member of Oak Canyon Riding Club in Glendora. His father, Michael, and uncle Gary were top riders in the Pacific Northwest and told him about the temptations awaiting a young man making a lot of money. Still, skeptics wondered if he could maintain a similar rate when his apprentice allowance was withdrawn. In 2008, Baze suffered a nasty spill that fractured his nose, a bone in his neck and required a plate inserted under his eye-socket. In California, he offered to take Baze's book on one condition - if their relationship was to work, there would be no quick fixes. Soon, however, the wheels came off his promising career. Peter Artieda, a close friend and best man at Baze's wedding, said he never noticed anything strange about Baze's behavior. In May, Puhich did so, leaving Ebanks to pull off a comeback of major proportions. The next track to conquer was going to be Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Baze had won two races there last fall and was going to the home of the Kentucky Derby for his first full meet. Baze could have disappeared, dropping the aspirations of success and finding something easier, something else. Tyler Baze is coming home. He was looking forward to Thursday, when the young rider from a famous family was supposed to be riding his first mount at Churchill Downs’s spring meet. Then, after a pause, he opened up a little more. With the horse racing world still reeling from thee, new reports are emerging that the 24-year-old jockey had been recently depressed and was scheduled to appear in court on a cocaine charge.