Closing day of the 74th Del Mar season marks the
conclusion of the first full season based at Del Mar for jockey Julien
Leparoux. And as they get ready to roll the credits, Leparoux is
already prepared to give Del Mar I "two thumbs up.”
“I feel I have had a great meet,” Leparoux said. “We won a lot of
races, a lot of big races and it has been good to ride for John Sadler,
Jerry Hollendorfer, Bob Baffert and a lot of other great trainers who
have given me the opportunity to ride very good horses for their
Through the first 36 racing days, Leparoux is sixth in the jockey
standings with 23 wins from 131 mounts. Five of the victories have come
in stakes races, placing him in a tie for first in that category with
Rafael Bejarano, who has clinched his third title as rider of the
meeting, and Martin Garcia.
Leparoux has mounts in all four stakes today. He’ll ride favored
(9-5) Diamond Bachelor for Patrick Biancone in the Oak Tree Juvenile
Turf, Longview Drive (10-1) for Hollendorfer in the Pirate’s Bounty,
Horizontalyspeakin (6-1) for Sadler in the C.E.R.F. and Tamarando (8-1)
for Hollendorfer in the Del Mar Futurity.
Not that it’s any surprise that the native of Senis, France, who
turned 30 on July 15, two days before the meeting started, would make
himself to home at Del Mar. The son of the late rider-turned-trainer
Robert Leparoux won the Eclipse Award as the top apprentice in the
nation for 2006 and another Eclipse as the nation’s top rider in 2009.
The apprentice/journeyman Eclipse double has only been accomplished
three other times – by Hall of Famers Steve Cauthen, Chris McCarron and
Leparoux’s mounts have averaged more than $12.7 million per year in
earnings for the last seven years. For 2013 his statistics, through
Monday, are 93 wins from 570 mounts for earnings of $7,383,984, 12th among jockeys nationally for earnings. He has 1,842 career wins from 9,646 mounts.
Until late last fall, the accomplishments had been done while
headquartered in the East and Midwest. He moved West in the fall of 2012
and in December married Shea Mitchell, the daughter of trainer Mike
In addition to having the track’s all time leader for training wins
as his father-in-law, Leparoux’s agent, Joe Ferrer, also books mounts
How does that work?
“Yes, it may be awkward at times. But that’s why I have an agent, I
guess,” Leparoux said. “He (Joe Ferrer) has done a good job and, for my
first year, it has been worked out well for both of us … I don’t come in
with any goals. To have the stakes wins, it’s a matter of having good
horses and being lucky to have good trips and have them run well on the
day in the race.”
Leparoux had accepted 24 mounts at Del Mar prior to this season with
two wins, one of them in the 2007 Palomar Handicap for the late Hall of
Fame trainer Robert Frankel in 2007.
“I’ve learned a lot,” Leparoux said of this season. “I know a lot
about many tracks, but did not have the experience of some riders at Del
Mar. Every track can be different because of the weather, but the
weather here is pretty much the same every day.”
It wasn’t like Del Mar was a mystery needing solving.
“It’s pretty fair and when you have good horses, usually the best
horse will win,” Leparoux said. “The turf course turns are a little
tighter and it’s not as wide as some tracks. It’s a fast turf so you
want to save ground as much as you can and be in a good position for the
“(The Polytrack main) is different than dirt, that’s for sure. But
usually you want to save ground too and try not to be too far out of it
(early in the race) like any other track.”
He’ll say “au revoir” at the end of the day today. He looks forward to saying “bonjour” in the summer of 2014.
“Del Mar is a nice place to ride and I am looking forward, in the future, to riding again at Del Mar.”
Parting Thoughts On Del Mar 2013
A random sampling of final words on the season/meeting from around the stable area:
Doug O’Neill, trainer: “Great meet and tons of
credit to (track superintendent) Rich Tedesco for a meeting with very
few injuries and Tom Robbins and the whole racing office for knowing the
horse inventory they have and writing the right races so they would
fill the way they have. They certainly deserve a game ball for what they
Richard Mandella, Hall of Fame trainer: “It’s always great to be here. Overall it has been a very good meet for us. We just hate to leave.”
Peter Miller, 2012 leading trainer: Great meeting.
The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club does an excellent job running this race
meet. I’m very happy with my results. We had a very good meet. I would
have liked to have won the training title again, but we lost a lot of
photos this year which we won last year. And I had a lot of horses that
were ready to run I couldn’t get in races, which was a little
Phil D’Amato, trainer and assistant to Mike Mitchell.
“I think it was a great meeting. Won some good stakes for the barn, and
I think that overall it was a very safe track and the superintendent
(Richard Tedesco) did an excellent job. All our horses came back in good
order and that’s all you can ask for.”
John Sadler, trainer. “We were very happy with the
meet. We were in the thick of it, start to finish, and what was nice to
me personally was how they all ran well as a group. If the horses didn’t
win, they were in the money a high percentage. We didn’t win the
Pacific Classic, but we finished 2-3.
Corey Nakatani, jockey. “It’s always good to be
here. This is the place of my first riding title and I always look
forward to being here. Next year, with the summer and fall meet, it’s
going to be special and I look forward to being a part of that.”
Reddam’s Double Shot In Futurity; Rum Point, Indexical
Seeking his first Del Mar Futurity, owner J. Paul Reddam has two
representatives in today’s $300,000 Grade I traditional closing day
feature – Rum Point and Indexical.
Rum Point, a son of Malibu Moon purchased for $150,000 at the 2012
Keeneland September sale, was a winner of a 5 ½-furlong maiden event
here on August 3 under Mario Gutierrez but will be ridden today by
“He’s doing really well,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “It’s a tough
race, but he’s a tough horse and I think we’ll be well represented.”
O’Neill will be seeking a second Futurity win to go with Stevie
Wonderboy in 2005. Valenzuela has two Futurity wins, aboard Best Pal in
1990 and J P’s Gusto in 2010.
Indexical, a son of Latent Heat purchased for $70,000 in the Barretts
May sale, is one of six Reddam horses under the care of Ben Cecil.
Indexical was fifth of nine in his racing debut on July 20 here but came
back to win a 5 ½-furlong maiden race on August 17 by 3 ¼ lengths.
Mario Gutierrez is back aboard.
“He had some trouble first time over, it was a little disappointing,”
Cecil said. “But he proved what we thought of him second time. This is a
step up, but we’re hopeful.”
Indexical’s 84 Beyer figure for his last race is the highest number in the Futurity field.
“That’s encouraging, but you can’t always rely on figures,” Cecil
said. “If you could, handicapping would be very easy. Because he’s
coming back in two weeks, I haven’t breezed him. The outside post I
think is fine.”