Kentucky Derby's Second-Place Finisher Found Dead at Racetrack

Nicole Fabian-Weber

michael bazeMichael Baze, a 24-year-old jockey, who rode in Saturday's Kentucky Derby, was found dead in his car yesterday at Churchill Downs. Police are currently investigating the reason for his death, as there aren't any indications of foul play.

What the hell is going on here? I mean, 24 years old? And just found dead in his car? This sounds like something out of Dateline. And actually it could be, because it was just revealed that Baze was due in court tomorrow for cocaine charges he was facing.

Hmm ... even though nothing has been concluded, it sounds a little fishy, no? And just throwing this out there, but: Maybe Churchill Downs should start testing for drugs. I mean, it is a sport, no?

It was only four years ago that it was ruled that horses couldn't compete in the Kentucky Derby if anabolic steroids were part of their race regimen. Shouldn't Churchill Downs crack down the same way -- with all drugs -- on their jockeys?

Now, no one knows exactly what happened to Michael, and it certainly is heartbreaking, but to just die out of nowhere at 24 years of age? When you're alone? Seems like drugs may have played a role -- however minor or major -- in this tragic story. Maybe if there was rigorous testing in all races, Baze wouldn't have used?

Bobby Kelly, Baze's new agent, said that he was trying to get in touch with him all morning yesterday. He texted and called, but got no response. He later found out from workers that Baze had been in his car in the same spot all morning before someone noticed and called 911.

As one would imagine, racing forums are being bombarded today with rumors as to what might have happened to the jockey -- much of the speculation being that he committed suicide.

One participant even went as far as to say that he "just heard, he overdosed."

Rumors are bound to circulate until the truth finally comes out, but one thing is for sure. No matter what the cause, this is terribly, terribly sad.

What do you make of all this?


Image via johndoeforty1/Flickr

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