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Leparoux Joins Hollywood Riding Colony

Jockey Julien Leparoux

The local jockey colony will have a new look this meeting, with a mixture of familiar faces infused with established talent arriving from other circuits.

Most notably absent is Joel Rosario, a multiple-time leading rider at Betfair Hollywood Park who began riding regularly on the opposite coast in July. Inheriting the mantle of top dog is Rafael Bejarano, who led all jockeys during the Betfair Hollywood Park Summer meeting and has topped the local standings numerous times. The Peruvian born rider will have his hands full fending off 22-year-old Joe Talamo, fresh from his first Southern California riding crown at the recently concluded Santa Anita fall meet.

Adding to the talent in the room is Julien Leparoux, winner of Eclipse Awards as Outstanding Apprentice in 2006 and Outstanding Jockey of 2010. The 29-year-old has been the leading rider on the Kentucky circuit numerous times since arriving from his native France in 2005. Leparoux has permanently moved his tack to California in conjunction with his upcoming marriage in December to Shea Mitchell, the youngest daughter of Mike Mitchell, who ranks second all time at Betfair Hollywood Park with 888 wins entering Thursday.

Leparoux was scheduled to ride Swiss Tart in the 7th race Thursday for Mitchell, but the 4-year-old was scratched from the optional claimer for California breds. He should get substantial business during the meet from his future father-in-law. Bejarano and Leparoux are good friends and will share agent Joe Ferrer.

Also shifting his gear to California is Orlando Mojica, who will be represented by Dudley Osborn. Mojica entered the meet with 1,782 career victories and $27.6 million in purse earnings. Mojica, a 30-year-old native of Puerto Rico, is named to ride Imperial Pride for trainer Bob Hess, Jr. in Saturday’s fourth race.

Agent Joe Griffin said Wednesday that Eswan Flores, the leading apprentice in Southern California until slapped with a 60-day drug related suspension at Del Mar, will return to the saddle Saturday. Griffin added that Flores is enrolled in the Winners Foundation Program and has been getting fit by exercising horses during the two weeks since his suspension was lifted Oct. 24. Flores’ apprentice status lapsed during the suspension, so he returns as a journeyman.

An apprentice to watch is Juan Sanchez, who will be getting chances from several top trainers, including Julio Canani, for whom he will ride Bud’s Pal in Friday’s sixth race.

 

 

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