A Jockey Reigns Supreme Again After Reining in Weight
Sunday News, Nov. 2, 1975
Ordinary folks whose girth starts expanding and whose belt slips a notch or two have relatively little to worry about in the weight-watching department compared to Garden City's Braulio Baeza, who has to maintain a weight of 115 pounds or less in order to earn a living as a jockey.
Beset by weight and related physical problems in the past few years, the popular Panamanian, no doubt, was discussing the possibility of retiring from the racing field, which he had dominated throughout the 1961-1971 decade.
Baeza, 35, can point to two principal factors that figured in his spectacular comeback after almost three frustrating years: his own determination not to quit in the face of physical adversity and his introduction to Drs. Phillip Datlof and Martin Turetsky, members of the American Bariatric Society.
The doctors, who have offices in Forest Hills, Bayside and Long Beach, specialize in the medical problems of persons who are overweight, underweight or unbalanced nutritionally.
As the doctors diagnosed the problem, what had happened to Baeza was the need for a sweat box in order to keep his weight around 115 pounds. The box, together with his eating habits, was making him physically unable to utilize his best talents as a jockey. The golden touch that had put him on top had apparently disappeared.
If Baeza hits the sweat box these days, it's only on occasion. The bariatricians took care of that.
We cast no magic spell over the jockey," said Datlof. "Nor did we give him a magic potion. If Baeza is enjoying a resurrgence, it's strictly because of his own talents. What we did accomplish, I might assume, was to help himself."
Datlof continued, "After getting a complete medical and physical history of the man, we prescribed an appetite suppressant and a nutritionally balanced diet suitable for an athlete who has to handle halfton horses on the run.
"Every athlete, no matter what sport he competes in, must have a nutritionally balanced diet in order to carry on the specific needs of his particular endeavor."
Since consulting the doctors last April, Baeza has had to return only a few times. Apparently "Browly-Yo" is again feeling like a million. Anyway, he has been winning millions for the owners and trainers who hire him to ride their horses.
As of Oct. 19, Baeza'a mounts had earned $3,108,289 to place him first in the nation in that category. By that date, he had won 169 races, with 166 seconds and 14 thirds.
In addition, he has won more $100,000 races on the 1975 calendar of events than any other jockey. His "hundred grand" successes include the Florida Derby, the Matron, Frizette and the Beldame, the Monmouth Invitational, the Travers, Governor, Marlboro Cup and Champagne, plus the ill-fated match between Foolish Pleasure and Ruffian.
Since coming to the U.S. in 1960, Baeza's 16,596 mounts have earned $34,267,727 , while taking him to the winner's circle 3,044 times.� In addition, he has garnered 2,620 seconds and 2,336 thirds.
The jockey has always had one motto for himself: always try to be the best or quit and go into another business.
So far, he has not had to turn to the help-wanted ads and, once again, he is America's foremost rider of thoroughbred race horses.
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