Julien Leparoux swept a pair of graded stakes at Churchill Downs on Saturday to be named the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week. The title goes to the week’s outstanding jockey in the opinion of a panel of industry experts. They looked at races run from November 10-16.
Leparoux, who ranks third in wins and second in earnings in the Churchill Downs standings, won the Grade II Mrs. Revere Stakes on Sparkling Review and the Grade III Commonwealth Turf Stakes on Heart to Heart.
Overall, he won seven races, with three seconds and two thirds in 18 starts for earnings of $317,893 during the week. His seven winning mounts paid an average of $6.71 for a $2 mutuel ticket.
In the Mrs. Revere Stakes, Sparkling Review displayed a brilliant late kick inside the final three-sixteenths of a mile to win by 2 3/4 lengths.
“She’s a very nice filly,” Leparoux said. “She always has given me a very nice kick at the end and she’s done everything very easily in her last two wins now. I didn’t even have to whip her today; I just asked her a little bit and felt like she had plenty left in the tank. I don’t know where she’ll go next, but I am definitely excited about riding her again.”
By contrast, Heart to Heart led from gate to wire in his 3 3/4-length win in the Commonwealth Turf Stakes.
“He’s a fast horse from the gate,” Leparoux said. “He pretty much took me on the lead and the way he relaxed in the early stages gave him the ability to finish very strong. Luckily everything went according to plan today and he won easy again.”
Leparoux grew up in a racing family in France, the son of a jockey turned assistant trainer. He worked as a stablehand at Chantilly Racecourse before moving to California in 2003 to work as an exercise rider for Patrick Biancone.
He began his professional riding career two years later, winning for the first time at Saratoga on Ball Four. The next year, he topped the standings at Turfway Park, the Churchill Downs spring/summer meet, and Keeneland’s spring meet.
He was the nation’s leading jockey in 2006 with 403 wins. That figure, plus earnings of $12,491,316 were the most ever in a single season by an apprentice jockey.
He tied Pat Day’s record of seven winners on a single race card at Churchill Downs in 2008. And in 2009, he became only the second rider to win three Breeders’ Cup races in a single year.
Leparoux won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2009.
His mounts have won over $7.1 million this year. He was previously the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for the week ending September 14.
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 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.