Michael Baze

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Michael Carl Baze
Michael Baze 2009.jpg
Baze riding Big Bad Al in 2009
Occupation Jockey
Born (1987-04-14)April 14, 1987
Renton, Washington, U.S.
Died May 10, 2011(2011-05-10) (aged 24)
Career wins 918
Major racing wins
Carleton F. Burke Handicap (2006)
Borderland Derby (2006)
Las Flores Handicap (2007)
Oak Tree Mile Stakes (2007)
American Invitational Handicap (2007)
Best Pal Stakes (2007)
Wilshire Handicap (2007)
San Diego Handicap (2007)
California Cup Matron (2007)
California Cup Classic (2008)
Borderland Derby (2009)
Potrero Grande Handicap(2009)
Sorrento Stakes (2009)
Significant horses
  • Salute the Sarge
  • Mi Sueno
[citation needed]

Michael Carl Baze[1] (April 14, 1987[2] – May 10, 2011) was an American Thoroughbred horse racing jockey.

Family background

He grew up in a family with an extensive history in the sport of racing. His father was a jockey who rode primarily at tracks in the Pacific Northwest and his uncle Gary Baze is a member of the Washington Racing Hall of Fame. Baze was also a cousin to jockey Tyler Baze and a second cousin to U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee Russell Baze.[3]

Riding career

Baze obtained his jockey's license in 2003 and began riding in California before heading to the east coast of the United States later that year where he met with success at Monmouth Park Racetrack in New Jersey. In 2006, he returned to a base in southern California and the following year was his breakout year when he was the leading rider at the Hollywood Park Racetrack spring/summer season and at the Del Mar Racetrack.


On May 10, 2011, Baze's body was found inside his Cadillac Escalade in the stable area of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.[4][5] The next day it was reported that a preliminary autopsy found no natural cause of death and that toxicology test results would not be available for three weeks.[6] It was also reported that Baze was scheduled to appear in court in Louisville on a cocaine possession charge.[7] (Baze never was a jockey in the Kentucky Derby, including the running three days before his death.)

On June 3, 2011, deputy Jefferson County coroner Jim Wesley reported that Michael Baze died of an accidental overdose. Toxicology results in the autopsy found cocaine and the prescription painkiller oxymorphone, also known as opana, in the rider's system. Levels of the drugs were not released. The official cause of death is listed as multiple substance intoxication, which the deputy coroner said is an overdose.[8]


Baze's mother, Teri Gibson, sued Baze's estranged wife Kelly on Judge Judy for funeral expenses and travel expenses for her and her son. Judge Judith Sheindlin awarded Gibson $855 for cremation expenses but disagreed that Kelly Baze owed her for travel expenses. During the episode, it was also revealed that Baze had received $750,000 from her late husband's life insurance policy, while Gibson had received $250,000. The episode aired on May 23, 2012.

Year-end charts

Chart (2006–2010) Peak
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2006 83
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2007 18
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2008 40
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2009 74
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2010 60


  1. ^ "A star is born, a father reborn in horse racing's Baze family" Press-Enterprise May 12, 2011.
  2. ^ "Michael Baze Found Dead at Churchill Downs" Cforce Media Archived 2011-05-14 at the Wayback Machine. May 12, 2011.
  3. ^ Joe Drape (11 May 2011). "Jockey Found Dead, Promise Unfulfilled". New York Times. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  4. ^ Drape, Joe (11 May 2011). "Jockey Michael Baze Is Found Dead at Churchill Downs". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  5. ^ Jockey Michael Baze found dead at Churchill Downs[dead link]
  6. ^ "Test results awaited after death of jockey Michael Baze" USA Today, May 11, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-24.
  7. ^ McGee, Marty. "Michael Baze autopsy inconclusive; jockey found dead was facing cocaine charge" Daily Racing Form, May 15, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-24.
  8. ^ "Jockey Michael Baze death ruled accidental drug overdose" Gregory A. Hall, (Louisville) courier-journal.com, June 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.

External links

  • November 6, 2007, ESPN article on Michael Baze
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