It was a monumental Kentucky Derby week for jockey Florent Geroux whose seven victories, including four graded stakes wins, vaulted him to a tie atop the Churchill Downs jockey standings with Tyler Gaffalione as the 14-day meet resumed Thursday.
“This year has been rough for everyone in the world,” said Geroux, who notched five wins on Kentucky Oaks Day. “Just being here to have the Derby, even if it was in September, with no spectators, was amazing. Because at the beginning of the year, when everyone was staying at home, you thought that was pretty much impossible… it turned out to be an amazing week.”
Geroux’s swift start to the September Meet included a 15-1 upset victory with Shedaresthedevil in the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI). In the race prior, the $500,000 La Troienne presented by Oak Grove Racing and Gaming (GI), Geroux bested seven rivals aboard champion Monomoy Girl. His day was capped off with a rail-skimming rally aboard Diamond Oops in the $250,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint presented by Sysco (GII).
“It was an amazing day but, at the end of the day, I wasn’t pleased knowing Mundaye Call got beat in the Eight Belles as the even-money favorite,” Geroux said.
In total, Geroux’s mounts banked $1,843,419 in purse money during the supercharged Kentucky Derby Week of races. Geroux and Gaffalione held a three-win cushion over Ricardo Santana Jr. in the riding standings. September Meet’s defending champion, Corey Lanerie, scored a trio of wins on Kentucky Derby week.
In the trainer standings, Brad Cox won six races with 13 starters and held a two-win margin over Mike Maker. Albaugh Family Stables, G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and Lothenbach Stables are tied in the owner’s race with two wins each.
Thursday’s nine-race card at Churchill Downs had a first post of 12:45 p.m.
KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER AUTHENTIC CONTINUES TRAINING AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – Spendthrift Farm, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stable and Starlight Racing’s Kentucky Derby (Grade I) winner Authentic continues to prepare for next month’s Preakness Stakes (GI) and has been galloping daily around 6 a.m. at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Bob Baffert left Authentic and stablemate Thousand Words at Churchill Downs under the care of fellow Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas. Thousand Words has been galloping each morning around 8 a.m.
“I’d like to say I have a pretty good assistant,” Baffert joked.
The duo are likely to work this weekend, according to Baffert.
The plane transporting horses from Louisville to Baltimore for the Oct. 3 Preakness is scheduled to leave Tuesday, Sept. 29, according to transporter Tex Sutton’s flight schedule.
MILESTONE WATCH – Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen continued his charge to surpass all-time win leader Dale Baird. At the start of racing Thursday, he trailed 9,445 wins to 8,998. … Trainers Bernie Flint (498 wins) and Tom Amoss (497 wins) were both rapidly approaching 500-career victories at Churchill Downs. They each had two horses entered on Thursday.
TV SCHEDULE – The final nine days of the September Meet will air daily on the Fox Sports family of networks. Here’s the day-by-day schedule:
•Thursday, Sept. 17: FS2 (12:30-5 p.m.)
•Friday, Sept. 18: FS2 (12:30-5 p.m.), MSG+ (12:30-6 p.m.)
•Saturday, Sept. 19: FS1 (12:30-4 p.m.), FS2 (4-6 p.m.)
•Sunday, Sept. 20: FS1 (12:30-4 p.m.), FS2 (4-5:30 p.m.)
•Wednesday, Sept. 23: FS2 (12:30-5 p.m.)
•Thursday, Sept. 24: FS2 (12:30-5:30 p.m.)
•Friday, Sept. 25: FS2 (12:30-5:30 p.m.)
•Saturday, Sept. 26: FS1 (12:30-1:30 p.m.), FS2 (1:30-8:30 p.m.)
•Sunday, Sept. 27: FS2 (12:30-6 p.m.), FS1 (6-7 p.m.), FS2 (7-8 p.m.)
DOWN THE STRETCH – Racing resumed Thursday for the 14-day September Meet. Post time for each of the final nine days is 12:45 p.m. Racing will continue this week through Sunday and resume Wednesday-Sunday. … The 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot will start over for racing on Thursday. The sequence will begin in Race 4 with a post time of 2:14 p.m. The card will also feature two 50-cent Pick 5 wagers (Races 1-5 and 5-9) and two Pick 4s (Races 2-5 and 6-9). ... The temporary rail on the Matt Winn Turf Course will be in Lane 3 (22 ft.) for racing Thursday-Sunday. … “Inside Churchill Downs” will air Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN Louisville. The one-hour horse racing program, hosted by Churchill Downs’ Darren Rogers, Kevin Kerstein and Scott Shapiro, airs locally on ESPN 680/105.7 and worldwide at www.espnlouisville.com. … For the latest handicapping information for the September Meet, visit www.churchilldowns.com/handicapping.