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Geroux Thriving at Arlington Park

Arlington Park.

Arlington Park jockey Florent Geroux was born in Argentan, an historic French town in the rolling agricultural region of Normandy, but with famous French jockey Dominique Geroux as his father, the youngster was raised on the outskirts of Paris while the senior Geroux plied his trade at France’s more traditional venues such as Longchamp.


It was only natural that the son would follow in his father’s footsteps, but after riding in France for two and a half years, Florent Geroux was given the opportunity to come to the United States to ride for the internationally-renowned conditioner Patrick Biancone at Hollywood Park in 2007.


Various unforeseen setbacks – including visa problems and two serious injuries – occurred soon after his arrival, and with his American career in forced limbo, Geroux went to Ireland to work at Coolmore Stud for six months while he waited to get the necessary papers to return to the United States.


That opportunity came in the spring of 2008 at Keeneland with the support of Hall of Fame trainers such as the late Bobby Frankel as well as Bill Mott, and later that summer Geroux arrived at Arlington Park.


Since coming to Chicago, Geroux’s riding career has advanced steadily –  with his initial graded stakes victory coming in last summer’s Grade III Pucker Up Stakes aboard Lawrence Peifer’s Dade Babe, conditioned by Danny Miller.


Then, last spring at Hawthorne, Geroux piloted Zayat Stables’ Joe Vann to a 4 1/4-length score in the Grade III Illinois Derby, and after returning to Arlington, he captured the Grade III Arlington Matron aboard Michael Deegan’s Pachattack on May 28.


Most recently, on Thursday Geroux scored the first hat trick of his Arlington career, winning the opener on Edmund and Sharon Hudson and Doug Arnold’s Preach Easy for trainer Eddie Kenneally, the third race astride Carolyn Wilson’s Fluid Grace for conditioner Wayne Catalano and the ninth aboard Dennis Becker’s Minnie Sunshine for Danny Miller.


“I’ve now won about 200 races in the United States and about 150 in France before that,” said Geroux after training hours Saturday.  “Sure, I miss riding in France but the opportunities are so limited there I’m much better off here.


“I have a home in Roselle and a baby due on Oct. 2,” Geroux said, “so I’ll be staying on the Chicago circuit for awhile, I would think.”





Jockey Junior Alvarado had a riding double Friday, while current leading rider James Graham and current runner-up J. Z. Santana each posted one win on the program to continue the three-way battle for Arlington’s 2011 jockey championship.


Going into Saturday’s 11-race program, Graham had 69 wins, Santana had 65 and Alvarado continued to close ground with 64 trips to the winner’s circle.


Veteran Arlington reinsmen E. T. Baird and Diego Sanchez also each posted two wins on Friday’s program.





Arlington Park trainer Jimmy DiVito saddled the winners of both ends of Friday’s Daily Double at Arlington, taking the opener with Doubledown Stables’ Xpectation and the second race with his own Silver Menace.  Spanish-born rider Diego Sanchez was aboard both.


DiVito returned to the winner’s circle after Friday’s sixth to pose with Kathy Halleran’s Sunshine Express, who was ridden by E. T. Baird.  That Chicago-born rider also won the fourth race with Richard Ravin and Pedi Racing’s Richysthunderingal.






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