French-born jockey Julien Leparoux became the 10th rider in Churchill Downs history to record 500 victories
beneath the historic Twin Spires when Joseph Sutton’s Maan
captured Sunday’s ninth race.
“It’s feels good, but it wasn’t
really on my mind,” Leparoux said. “I try not to focus on the milestones and
just take it one day at a time.”
Leparoux, who will turn 28 on July
15, took out his riding license in 2005 and began riding at Churchill Downs
during that year’s Fall Meet. He recorded his first victory at the Louisville
track on Nov. 26, 2005 aboard Three Steps Ahead. It was his only win of
“My first win here is probably one
of my favorites out of all 500,” Leparoux said. “The other top highlights are
probably my two Grade I wins: the (Woodford Reserve) Turf Classic (aboard Einstein-BRZ)
and the Humana (Distaff aboard Informed Decision).” Both of those
victories, which account for two of Leparoux’s 33 stakes wins at Churchill
Downs, occurred on the 2009 Kentucky Derby Day undercard.
Later on Sunday’s program, Leparoux
notched victory number 501 aboard James B. Tafel LLC’s Prado Dash
in the $62,603 featured allowance race.
Trained by Carl Nafzger, the
3-year-old son of El Prado-IRE covered the mile on the Matt Winn Turf Course in
1:35.59. The victory was worth $37,260 and increased Prado Dash’s earnings to
$103,053 with a record of 2-3-2 from 10 starts.
The 5-2 second-choice in the field
of 11, Prado Dash returned mutuels of $7.60, $4.20 and $3. Ashbrook Farm’s
San Antone finished second by a neck and returned $9.20 and $8.60 with PEG
LLC’s Versailles Road another 1 ¼-lengths back in third to return
Racing continues Monday with an
11-race program to conclude the 38-day Spring Meet. The special Independence
Day card will be highlighted by the 21st running of the Grade II, $175,000-added Firecracker
Handicap at one mile on turf. Post time for the first race is 12:45 p.m. EDT
and the Firecracker Handicap is scheduled for Race 10 at 5:25 p.m. There is no
carryover in the Pick 6 or Super Hi-5, but both pools on Monday will feature
mandatory payouts because it is closing day.
Leparoux enters closing day with
51-46 lead over Corey Lanerie in the jockey standings. He is seeking his
eighth Churchill Downs riding title: 2006 Spring (87 wins), 2007 Spring (69
wins), 2007 Fall (27 wins), 2008 Fall (record 63 wins), 2009 Spring (62 wins),
2009 Fall (27 wins, tied with Calvin Borel) and 2010 Fall (28 wins).
There’s also a tight race for
leading trainer. Nine-time leading trainer Steve Asmussen (Fall 2001,
Spring 2004, Fall 2004, Spring 2007, Fall 2007, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring
2010 and Fall 2010) will begin the day with a 18-16 lead over Eddie Kenneally
and Ken McPeek. Richard and Karen Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds
Inc. has clinched the title for champion owners with eight wins, two more
than Jay Em Ess Stable and Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
Top 10 Jockeys in Races Won at
Churchill Downs (through Sunday, July 3)
- Pat Day, 2,482
- Calvin Borel, 1,066*
- Robby Albarado, 929*
- Don Brumfield, 925
- Larry Melancon, 914
- Jim McKnight, 883
- Charlie Woods Jr., 757
- Shane Sellers, 724*
- Julio Espinoza, 642
- Julien Leparoux, 501*