Ed Golden of the Santa Anita publicity staff talked to Ivan Puhich, agent for jockey Tyler Baze, on his 81st birthday Friday and came away with a story about opening day at Santa Anita in 1969 or ’70.
“I had Bill Mahorney’s book and he was out with a collapsed lung for several months,” Puhich told Golden. “He came back and was working a horse that he liked. I took my last $1,800 out of the bank to bet the horse — $600 across the board. I’m watching the race from the end of the grandstand and he’s running last, but as he starts to move, I’m running with him towards the finish line. (Trainer) Bobby Frankel sees me and he says, ‘Where you going?’ I said, ‘I think I can win,’ so he starts running with me. We hit the finish line together and the horse won. I had been through some hard times the previous six months, so all the agents, led by Harry Silbert (Bill Shoemaker’s long-time agent), picked me up, carried me to the bar and started buying me drinks.”
Oh, the stories some of these old-timers can share.