Jockey was facing hearing on a cocaine charge

Jockey Michael Baze, found dead in his vehicle Tuesday in the Churchill Downs stable area, was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Thursday on a cocaine charge.

According to court records, the 24-year-old from Glendora, Calif., was scheduled for a preliminary hearing after being charged with first-degree possession of cocaine in November.

Louisville police arrested him Nov. 18 in a parking lot near downtown after he gave a detective consent to search his 2010 Dodge, according to the arrest warrant. The warrant said the detective found a small baggie of suspected cocaine in Baze’s pants pocket.

There has been no report filed on Baze’s death as Louisville police say they are waiting for autopsy results from the Jefferson County coroner.

Some of those closest to Baze say they are shocked by his death.

Peter Artieda, a fellow jockey and best man in Baze’s wedding, was planning to see Baze Monday but said Baze canceled their plans after oversleeping.

“We were supposed to actually hang out Monday during the day. He was supposed to ride at Indiana (Downs) Monday night. He had texted me, actually, Monday afternoon saying that he fell asleep and that he was sorry that he didn’t get back to me.”

Artieda said he saw Baze last week in the Churchill Downs jockey’s room and felt nothing was out of the ordinary with his friend.

“I couldn’t sense anything,” he said. “Honestly, to me, he never said or showed any stresses.”

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Associated Press Writer Brett Barrouquere contributed to this report.

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