Racing fans in the Northwest may have gotten the idea from the Turf Paradise entries this past winter that Vicky Baze might be riding competitively...

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Racing fans in the Northwest may have gotten the idea from the Turf Paradise entries this past winter that Vicky Baze might be riding competitively again at Emerald Downs when it opens today.

Baze, who won two riding titles at Longacres when she raced as Vicky Aragon, retired in 2001, came out of retirement in 2004, then called it quits again before the season ended. Nearly 20 years of riding left her with herniated and bulging disks in her neck as well as bone spurs. She worked as an exercise rider, but last season took a couple of spills, breaking her tailbone and her fibula and straining knee ligaments.

But at the Arizona track this winter, she occasionally took a mount.

“Turf Paradise worked out great for me,” she said. “There’s a large rider colony there, and I didn’t have to ride that many races.”

But she won’t be a jockey this season at Emerald Downs. Her health is not to blame this time — the state code of ethics is.

Her husband, Gary Baze, a top rider who retired last year, has taken the job of clerk of scales this season at the Auburn track.

State regulations say the clerk can’t have a spouse in the races.

“I guess they think I might show up without my 15-pound lead weight pack or something,” said Vicky, 42.

She has taken an administrative job taking entries in the racing office and hopes to continue exercising horses.