Baeza tops in 1966
from The Jockey News
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
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