Jockey Florent Geroux went back to back winning two graded stakes races on the excellent Saturday card at Fair Grounds Racecourse capping a four win day aboard Derby hopeful Gun Runner. That big effort led to him being unanimously named this week’s Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for February 16th – February 22nd. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
For Jockey Geroux 2015 was a breakthrough season in many ways making huge leaps in wins, stakes wins, total earnings and riding titles. The 2016 season looks just as bright with one added feature, a live Triple Crown mount. He now has that in Gun Runner, whose decisive victory in the Gr.2 $400,000 Risen Star Stakes, has vaulted him to number one in the Derby Points leaderboard.
Just before the feature race on the card, Geroux piloted home Chocolate Ride to win the Gr. 3 Fair Grounds Handicap. It was the third straight win for Geroux and Chocolate Ride since getting the mount back from rider Joe Talamo. Geroux was also the rider last spring when Chocolate Ride won the 2015 running of the Fair Grounds Handicap giving the pair back-to-back wins in the race.
“You never know how these races are going to unfold, but we had the best horse,” said Geroux, who won four races on the card, including the Duncan F. Kenner Stakes with Cinco Charlie. “He can run on the lead or take off it. He’s a very tough horse, especially on this turf course. He’s very hard to catch. Brad (Cox) and his team have done a great job with him keeping him healthy and happy.”
It would be a different story with Gun Runner, as it was the Frenchman’s first time to ride the talented three-year-old who has had a bit of backstretch buzz about his 2016 debut. Geroux made it look like a natural fit while winning in good fashion seizing the lead at the top of the stretch then holding off a late rally from Forevamo to register a half-length win.
“He’s a very nice horse. I’ve really liked him since the first time I was on his back a few weeks ago working in the morning,” said Geroux after picking up his fourth win on the card. “He’s super athletic. I was very confident. I wanted to make sure I saved some ground. Earlier I got beat and was stuck going wide the whole way. It looked like the track was playing a little bit more inside-favoring. I kept him down there until I asked him to go and he ran a great race.”
For the week Geroux garnered seven wins from his 22 starters with two second place finishes and another two third placings with earnings of $443,490 for the week.
JockeyTalk360.com spotlights the riders across North America and around the world who may be the bravest, toughest and most accomplished of all athletes. The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, the Daily Racing Form, Equibase, the Jockeys’ Guild, the Paulick Report, the Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Turf Publicists of America.