(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:
|1||Jose L. Ortiz||74||11||11||8||$1,328,113||15%||30||41%|
|3||Julien R. Leparoux||73||16||6||9||$900,180||22%||31||42%|
|7||Corey J. Lanerie||82||10||13||9||$657,128||12%||32||39%|
|9||John R. Velazquez||24||3||4||3||$496,017||13%||10||42%|
|11||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||57||5||11||8||$418,311||9%||24||42%|
|14||Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.||64||4||2||6||$219,026||6%||12||19%|
|16||Mike E. Smith||5||1||0||0||$138,856||20%||1||20%|
|17||Jamie P. Spencer||2||0||0||1||$101,000||0%||1||50%|
|24||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||12||1||0||2||$84,080||8%||3||25%|
(Stats combined by The Jockey Club’s Equibase)