Jockey Russell Baze made the right decision and as a result was amply rewarded Friday at the Sonoma County Fair.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer gave the world’s winningest rider his choice of piloting Do the Danse or Seduire in the $56,450 Wine Country Debutante Stakes, and Baze elected to go with the latter.
After guiding Seduire to a front-running victory while her stablemate faded to last, Baze revealed he worked both fillies the week before the race.
“I guess I picked the right one,” he said with a smile. “She impressed me.”
Seduire’s previous starts were at Santa Anita where she won a maiden race and then finished second in the $126,000 Landaluce Stakes.
Do the Danse had been unbeaten in two starts, including the Juan Gonzalez Memorial at Pleasanton.
Once the gates opened, Baze allowed Seduire to take the lead.
“She broke alertly and I let her go on her own,” he said. “She got her second wind at the eighth-pole and we would’ve still won had the race been longer than six furlongs.”
Baze’s good judgment earned him $3,205 as his 10 percent of the winner’s share.
The public backed Seduire with confidence and she paid only $2.60 for the minimum win bet.
Baze is on his way to reclaiming the fair riding title.
He lost by one to Juan Hernandez last summer.
Santa Rosa-based trainer Steve Specht had two fillies in the Debutante. Can Can Babe finished second and Go to the Alter checked in fourth.
*Peter Miller and Doug O’Neill, who are in a battle for leading trainer honors at the current Del Mar meet, have horses running today at the fair. Miller’s Garen is competing in the seventh race, while O’Neill’s Pure Tactics will be one of the favorites in the $50,000 added Jess Jackson Owners Handicap.
*Also today, the colors worn by Triple Crown winners will be seen locally.
The red and navy blue silks of Calumet Farm will be worn by Dennis Carr aboard Bourbon N Burley in the fifth race. Calumet won the Triple Crown with Citation and Whirlaway. Also, Karen and Mickey Taylor, who campaigned Seattle Slew, have They Call Me Mr. P in the Jackson. Silvio Amador will don their yellow silks.
*In a twist, jockeys will compete in a foot race after today’s first race. Among those signed up for the 100-yard dash are: Ricardo Gonzalez, Barrington Harvey and Catalino Martinez. The riders will race in front of the grandstand.
*The opener today is for mules. Baby Sister, a 12-year-old, will be racing for the 19th time at the fair.
*Sarah Nelson, who is 15, will be making her 16th local start.
*Sunday is closing day of racing at the Sonoma County Fair, and 10 races are scheduled.