Jockey Tyler Baze, the Eclipse-winning outstanding apprentice jockey of 2000 who now sports 2,889 wins, returned from a major health scare with his first visit to the winner's circle since Apr. 14 at Oaklawn Park.
“I needed it,” Baze told the Santa Anita notes team Friday morning at Clocker's Corner. “It took a lot for me to get to this point after being in the hospital and almost dying.”
Baze was hospitalized for about two weeks in Arkansas after that last win at Oaklawn with severe pain as doctors sought to diagnose the problem. They finally determined he had a bowel obstruction and quickly sent him to surgery.
“It was my intestine. I literally was colicking like a horse,” Baze said. “They didn't have to cut any out. They untangled it basically. The doctor's words were 'We had to remold it.'”
After 10 days recovering in the hospital, he returned to his home in California. He was told he would require 8-10 months to recover, but was back in the gym in eight weeks and rode his first race back at Del Mar Sept. 9. His first winner since the return came at the current Santa Anita meet in Monday's fourth race in a $50,000 maiden claimer going six furlongs on Lonesome Stew (Grazen) for trainer Mark Glatt.
Baze is slated to ride seven races at Santa Anita this coming weekend.
“Now with the winner, hopefully things will pick up and I'll get on better horses,” Baze said. “But this whole ordeal has given me a whole new perspective. I'm only here for a minute. I'm going to enjoy it.”
Baze continued: “It's no longer going through the motions. You realize how precious life is. Instead of just getting through your morning or through the day, you need to enjoy every minute of it. I get to be out here and look at these beautiful mountains and watch the sun come up every morning. It's an amazing gift from God.”