Leparoux Takes Commanding Lead in Keeneland Jockey Standings

(Jockey Julien Leparoux / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

When the Keeneland October and iconic race meet rolls around every jubilant Fall in the Bluegrass, you can expect a couple of things.

One, the leaves will be turning a toasty brown, orange, red, purple, rust, faded green concoction of colors. Or a combination thereof.

Two, the best jockeys from around the world will be turning Lexington into a temporary home.

The leaves love to fall in the Fall.

The riders do not.

But the jockeys do love coming to the Bluegrass to stake a claim in some of the most important Stakes races in the land, and a shot at some sweet purse money, too. They come hunting the finish line and the winner’s circle. They come hunting one of the world’s and racing globe’s most prestigious “Rider’s Titles.”

They come. They see. And, they hope to conquer.

After all, it is Keeneland, right?

After all, Jose Ortiz has been here all meet.

After all, Hall of Famer Javier Castellano has ridden here for most of the meet.

After all, Irad Ortiz, Jr., Joel Rosario, Flavien Pratt, and, even, Mike Smith have picked up a few rides along the way, too.

After all, some of the best riders in all of the free world have taken the reins on some of the most talented horses in all of the free world here at Keeneland this October.

But don’t be too eager to give up this “Championship” to an “outsider” without a fight. It’s going to be a horse race, right?

Of course, it is.

Right down to the finish line.

Right down to the last day.

It’s the Keeneland way.

Right down to the wire.

And, while some of the best riders in the land have certainly made or found there way to the Bluegrass and to Lexington, it is a regular on the Kentucky circuit who has stollen the hearts of the fans and is about to steal another Kentucky riding championship.

Going into this week’s final 4 days of racing — which will start on Wednesday and end on Saturday — it is a familiar name and face who is ready, set and raring to go. Raring to win the Keeneland riding championship.

Going into the final four days of the Keeneland October Race Meet, it is Kentucky’s very own — by way of his homeland of France — Julien Leparoux is all poised to capture this Fall’s riding title.

After Sunday’s races were all tallied and in the record books, Leparoux had managed to scratch out 16 wins, 6 seconds and 9 thirds in 73 mounts to take a 4-win lead. His mounts have earned over $900,000, and he has totaled a win percentage of .22% and an “in the money” percentage of over .42%.

The closest rider to Leparoux in terms of wins this meet is Castellano, who has 12, and Ortiz, who has 11.

A win farther back is Corey Lanerie, who has totaled 10 wins, 13 seconds, and 9 thirds in 82 rides to date.

Here’s a closer look at the Top 25 riders this meet:

1Jose L. Ortiz7411118$1,328,11315%3041%
2Javier Castellano5412117$1,290,81822%3056%
3Julien R. Leparoux731669$900,18022%3142%
4Joel Rosario32564$714,18216%1547%
5Flavien Prat6111$660,51517%350%
6Tyler Gaffalione688911$657,70412%2841%
7Corey J. Lanerie8210139$657,12812%3239%
8Joe Bravo20433$540,51220%1050%
9John R. Velazquez24343$496,01713%1042%
10Florent Geroux44683$465,16814%1739%
11Ricardo Santana, Jr.575118$418,3119%2442%
12Miguel Mena56414$298,1347%916%
13Chris Landeros25533$273,99820%1144%
14Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.64426$219,0266%1219%
15James Graham63265$185,1613%1321%
16Mike E. Smith5100$138,85620%120%
17Jamie P. Spencer2001$101,0000%150%
18Mickael Barzalona1010$100,0000%1100%
19David Cohen14220$98,88214%429%
20Mitchell Murrill26221$94,8868%519%
21Shaun Bridgmohan11211$93,47218%436%
22Adam Beschizza13014$93,4110%538%
23Robby Albarado27123$92,7384%622%
24Irad Ortiz, Jr.12102$84,0808%325%
25Channing Hill21202$75,10710%419%

(Stats combined by The Jockey Club’s 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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