Jockey Julien Leparoux won the 1,000th race of his brief career on Wednesday when he guided My Little Connor ($6.20) to a 1 ¾-length victory for trainer Dave Vance in the third race at Churchill Downs.
“It feels good,” Leparoux said. “I’ll feel even better when I get 1,001. Each victory feels a little bit better. There are so many people that have helped me along the way, including [trainer Patrick] Biancone, who helped me from the start to my agent Steve Bass, trainers like Mike Maker and great owners such as Ken and Sarah Ramsey. There are too many good people to mention, but I’d like to thank all of the owners and trainers who gave me the opportunity to ride their horses.”
The 25-year-old native of Senlis, France is in the midst of his fifth year as a professional jockey. Leparoux won his first race on Aug. 18, 2005 at Saratoga Race Course and has ascended ever since.
In 2006, he won a career-high 403 races while his mounts earned a personal-best $12.4 million. The impressive year-end statistics – he led all jockeys in races won – resulted in an Eclipse Award as North America’s top apprentice rider.
Leparoux has amassed 87 stakes wins, including 53 in graded races. His most notable wins came aboard Nownownow in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and Forever Together in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Leparoux is also the regular rider of top older horse Einstein-BRZ, who prevailed in last fall’s Grade II Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs and this year’s Grade I Santa Anita Handicap and Woodford Reserve Turf Classic.
“It’s nice when you can ride good horses like Einstein, Forever Together and [2009 Humana Distaff champ] Informed Decision,” Leparoux said. “So far, it’s been a fun run. Hopefully, we can keep it going and have a very good year.”
The Frenchman is a four-time leading rider at Churchill Downs: Spring 2006 (87 wins), Spring ’07 (69), Fall ’07 (27) and Fall ’08 (record 63). Last fall, Leparoux rode seven winners at the Louisville racetrack on Veterans Day to match legendary Pat Day’s single-day track record.- 30 -