(November 28, 2008) – Jockey Julien Leparoux broke a 23-year-old Churchill Downs record for wins at a Fall Meet on Friday when he rode Just Like William to a head victory in the third race for his 56th triumph of the meet. It was his second win on the day. He also won the second race aboard Calabria.
Hall of Fame rider Pat Day previously established the Fall Meet mark in 1985 when he rode 55 winners in a 30-day meet.
Day rode an average of 1.8 winners per day for the meet that ran 271 races. Day’s success rate was 28.6 percent (55 for 192).
The current meet, which concludes Saturday, runs for 26 days and offers 268 races.
Leparoux is hitting at a 29.2 percent win rate (56 for 192 through Race 3 on Friday) and averaging 2.2 winners a day. He had eight mounts remaining Friday and is named on nine mounts Saturday.
“This has been kind of a chain [reaction],” Leparoux said. “I ride for Mike Maker who broke the record [for wins by a trainer at a Churchill Downs Fall Meet with 29 through Race 3 on Friday] and Ken [and Sarah] Ramsey, who broke a record, too. (Note: The Ramseys set a record for wins by an owner at Churchill Downs Fall Meet with 24 through Race 3 on Friday)
“When you ride for people who win . . . it’s been a good team. I really think that’s what made this happen. We’ve had a lot of success with Mike and the Ramseys.
“What’s funny about this is that I never really thought about [breaking Day’s record] until I went to an appointment last Tuesday in Louisville and the guy told me ‘Just don’t beat him because we love Pat Day over here! Can you just tie it? Don’t beat him!’ I thought that was kind of funny. I like the Louisville people, but I’ve got to keep winning races.”
Three of his victories have come in stakes and Leparoux’s best day of the meet came on Nov. 11 when he rode a record-tying single-day total of seven winners. He was blanked only one day, on Nov. 2, when he had nine mounts.
Through Friday’s third race, Leparoux had ridden all but one of Maker’s 29 winners and 22 of the Ramseys’ 24 victors.
The record-breaking run has enabled Leparoux to close in on his fourth riding title at Churchill Downs. A 25-year-old native of Senlis, France, Leparoux also won titles in the 2006 and 2007 Spring Meets as well as the 2007 Fall Meet.
After the Churchill Downs Fall Meet concludes Saturday, Leparoux plans to vacation for 10 days in Hawaii with his best friend from France before riding at the Gulfstream Park winter meet in Florida.
“Then we’ll come back to work and get ready for Gulfstream,” Leparoux said. “You’ve got to follow the people you ride the most for and see what happens. We hope to get a good horse for the [Kentucky] Derby. That’s why you want to go to big places like this and where the best trainers go. Hopefully we can get lucky over there, too.
“For the past three years, I’ve been lucky to be with people who have had success. When you have people like that, you’ll have success, too,” said Leparoux, who is represented by jockey agent Steve Bass. “I’ve got thank everybody. You cannot do it alone.”
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