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Wednesday
May112011

Jockey Found Dead at Churchill Downs

File photo. Photos.com/Thinkstock(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- Louisville police are investigating the mysterious death of a troubled but promising young jockey found dead in his car at Churchill Downs, just days after the Kentucky Derby, where a horse he once rode to victory placed second.

Michael Baze, 24, was found dead Tuesday, in the back of his still idling SUV in the stable area of the track near Gate 5.

"There doesn't appear to be foul play," said Louisville Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley. "But we are awaiting the coroner's report and autopsy. This is a death investigation as opposed to a homicide."

Baze was found by police late Tuesday afternoon, but witnesses said the jockey had parked in the lot around 2:30 a.m. that morning and his Cadillac SUV had been idling all day. It is believed he was out drinking Monday night before arriving at the track.

Baze was to meet his new agent at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs, where the two men planned to meet with trainers to find the jockey a new mount.

Baze, who comes from a prominent jockey family, had 918 wins and career purse earnings of $32.4 million out of 6,968 mounts, according to Equibase. His last race was April 29.

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