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Baeza tops in 1966

from The Jockey News

January, 1967

Braulio Baeza of Panama expanded his "lock" on the national money-winning jockey title to two years in l966, his mounts earning $2,951,022, about $10,000 less than the all-time high of $2,961,693 posted by Willie Shoemaker in 1958.

Baeza's '66 total ranks third on the all-time list, and it should be added that the 26-year-old super-star could easily have eclipsed Shoe's '58 record last season had he so desired. By early December, Baeza was within striking distance of the all-time high, but he elected to take a long vacation in December, not riding from the 6th of the month until the opening of the Santa Anita meeting on December 26.

Clearly, Baeza is not impressed by titles. He dethroned Shoemaker in the money-won department in 1965, breaking the latter's seven-year hold on the crown. And again, in '66, Baeza and Shoemaker were the only jockeys to pass the $2,000,000 level. Shoe easily taking the runner-up spot with $2,671,198.

John L. Rotz finished third with $1,949,092, as Walter Blum, $1,827,229, and Bob Ussery, $1,561,432, completed the "Top Five."

Baeza was a "rider of champions" last year, having Horse of the Year Buckpasser as a regular mount through 10 stakes victories in a row. He also piloted Successor to the juvenile title, and was aboard Open Fire when that mare clinched the distaff crown in the Spinster Stakes at Keeneland. His other outstanding mounts included Graustark, Bold and Brave, Destro, Disciplinarian, Discipline, Bold Lad and Time Tested.

As the above roster attests, Baeza is the favorite rider of Eddie Neloy and the Phipps Family, who dominated racing in '66.

Shoemaker's prime money winners were Diplomat Way, Saber Mountain, Natashka, Lucky Debonair, Tom Rolfe and Dr. Fager, while Rotz was happy to be united with Buffle, Indulto, What a Treat, Seaman and Bold Hour.

Baeza, before coming to the States early in '60, established many records in his homeland. Only in his first season in the U.S. did he fail to ride the earners of $1,000,000. In seven seasons here he has accepted 8,048 mounts, winning with 1,408, for earnings of $13,153,963.

A look at the '66 money-winning jockeys' race shows that Shoemaker got off to his customary jet-propelled start at Santa Anita and, by the end of March, was far in front with $841,937 to Baeza's $413,798, as Blum and Ussery ranked two, three. By June 30, Shoemaker continued comfortably in front, with $1,460,630 to Blum's $1,088,729 and Baeza's $1,072,706.

Shoemaker still held a solid margin at the end of September, $2,292,000 to Baeza's $1,967,427, but then came Buckpasser and Successor in the fall and Baeza was home free with the latter's triumph in the rich Garden State Stakes, after Shoemaker had failed with the same colt in the rich Pimlico Futurity at Laurel.

Leading Jockeys------1966 Season

Money Won

Jockey

Mounts

Win Percentage

Amount

Baeza, B.

1,341

.222

$2,951,022

Shoemaker, W.

1,037

.213

2,671,198

Rotz, J.L.

1,178

.160

1,949,092

Blum, W.

1,462

.126

1,827,229

Ussery, R.

1,130

.184

1,561,432

Fires, E.

1,505

.152

1,432,951

Brumfield, D.

1,345

.145

1,380,344

Velasquez, J.

1,559

.193

1,277,482

Cardone, E.

1,297

.185

1,275,111

Baltazar, C.

1,709

.159

1,178,339

Races Won

Jockey

Mounts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win Percentage

Gomez, A.

996

318

173

142

.321

Velasquez, J.

1,559

300

236

210

.193

Baeza, B.

1,341

298

221

190

.222

Baltazar, C.

1,709

272

226

205

.159

Frey, P.

1,368

257

195

188

.188

Cardone, E.

1,297

240

196

171

.185

Barrera, C.

1,077

236

174

157

.220

Pineda, A.

1,656

236

221

193

.142

Callimore, R.

1,505

229

186

200

.152

Fires, E.

1,111

229

166

148

.206

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