Russell Baze is back.
But that’s nothing new on Longacres Mile day for North America’s all-time winningest jockey. Baze, who began his career at Yakima Meadows in 1974 and surpassed the 12,000-win mark earlier this summer in Northern California, is scheduled to ride Politicallycorrect, the 7-2 morning-line favorite in Sunday’s $200,000 Grade III Longacres Mile at Auburn’s Emerald Downs.
The mount will give Baze, 55, a record 20 appearances in the Mile, moving out of a tie with his cousin, Gary Baze. Russell Baze has ridden in each Mile since 1992, winning three times, and is the only jockey to win back-to-back Miles at Emerald Downs, doing it on Sky Jack in 2003 and on Adreamisborn in 2004. He also won in 1988 aboard Simply Majestic at Longacres in Renton.
It’s a race that has always meant a lot to Baze, who grew up in Washington. After winning the 2004 Mile, he said, “The Longacres Mile, that was like the Kentucky Derby to me… that was the race.”
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Sunday’s Mile has a Breeders’ Cup feel to it. Horses from all directions have converged for the race, making it a very difficult race to predict.
Politicallycorrect last raced at Saratoga, N.Y. Mr. Bowling, recently co-purchased by Redmond’s Mark Dedomenico, last raced in Indiana. Three horses last raced in Southern California, and British Columbia star Herbie D is the second choice on the morning line at 4-1.
There are 11 races on the card,and the Mile is the eighth race. The top race of the season for fillies and mares, the $65,000 Emerald Distaff, is the sixth race.
Exclusive Diva and E Z Kitty lead the local contingent in the seven-horse field, but will face a big challenge from Vancouver, B.C.-based star Evelyn’s Dancer.
• Among the festivities Sunday will be a giveaway of 41 flat-screen TVs.
• Noosito is the 2-1 favorite in Saturday’s $50,000 W.T.B.O.A Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings.
Scott Hanson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-464-2943