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
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
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.”
GRAHAM, SANTANA, ALVARADO CONTINUE LEADING RIDER BATTLE
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.
reinsmen E. T. Baird and Diego Sanchez also each posted two wins on Friday’s
DIVITO SADDLES TRAINING TRIPLE FRIDAY
trainer Jimmy DiVito saddled the winners of both ends of Friday’s Daily Double
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.