All Can Join In & “Sing” the Praises of Jockey Julien Leparoux

(Jockey Julien Leparoux / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

My great friend Ed DeRosa, the Director of Marketing at and one of the best handicappers in the game today, likes to say that Julien Leparoux is one of  the best riders in the entire world. On some days, when he has cashed a few bets on his favorite rider, Ed may even go so far as to say that Leparoux is “The Best.” 

As in?

The entire world of horse racing.

I don’t know if the soft spoken Julien Leparoux would go so far as to publicly confirm Ed’s staunch support and aggressive opinion, but Julien’s proud and vocally-accomplished wife, Shea, probably would sing his praises, too.

And, why not.

The man has undoubtedly become one of the best rides in the Midwest; one of the best jockeys at Churchill Downs, for sure; one of the more accomplished grass riders in the Continental United States of America; and, yes, one of the best rides in the entire world.

If anyone doubts the high praise, all you have to do is look at the opening weekend of Churchill Downs’ September Race Meet — which started last Friday.

It was proof positive.

It was positive proof.

It was Julie Leparoux “Tribute Weekend” so much that all of us — including Shea — can sing the praises.

After all, just consider:

In the first 12 rides of the meet, Leparoux booted home 6 winners, and carted home over $315,000 in purse money.

Any way you count it, that is a win percentage of a whopping .50%.

Any way you add it up, that is about $25,000-plus per mount.

Any way you cut it, that’s a pretty good weekend.

Here’s a closer look at the top riders after the first three days of the meet:

1Julien R. Leparoux12600$315,96750%650%
2Corey J. Lanerie25430$278,66416%728%
3Florent Geroux20454$271,68920%1365%
4Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.21132$198,9775%629%
5Jose L. Ortiz14231$162,36214%643%
6Miguel Mena21314$142,89214%838%
7Irad Ortiz, Jr.5100$132,48820%120%
8Abel Cedillo1100$120,280100%1100%
9Tyler Gaffalione7121$108,24814%457%
10James Graham15141$101,4167%640%
11Calvin H. Borel9100$96,46511%111%
12Joseph Rocco, Jr.7101$65,24914%229%
13Martin Chuan4100$60,45725%125%
14Tyler Baze14003$58,0020%321%
15Ricardo Santana, Jr.12110$56,4098%217%
16Edgar Morales13101$46,2768%215%
17Shaun Bridgmohan5002$45,7370%240%
18Jesus Lopez Castanon4120$44,10025%375%
19Declan Carroll13022$41,6030%431%
20Declan Cannon4011$30,6780%250%
21Jon Kenton Court14010$28,4890%17%
22Channing Hill4101$26,66625%250%
23Gabriel Saez8002$25,5160%225%
24Joe M. Johnson2100$22,58050%150%
25Trevor McCarthy1001$19,0000%1100%

(Stats provided by Equibase)

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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