Kentucky Derby 2019 Daily: On Roadster, Baffert goes with ‘Flo’

April 20, 2019 06:01pm

Welcome to Horse Racing Nation’s Kentucky Derby Daily, which will each day leading up to the May 4 race at Churchill Downs detail all the news and notes related to contenders in one convenient space.

Florent Geroux hasn't received race day mounts on Bob Baffert’s big Churchill Downs runners, but in recent years he has been a mainstay around the barn when the Hall of Famer operates a string in Kentucky.

Baffert noticed that pattern never bothered the jockey who, while still considered an up-and-comer, has also piloted recent champions Gun Runner and Monomoy Girl.

“He’s got a great attitude,” Baffert said Friday, in an interview on the Inside Churchill Downs’ radio show. That quality led the Hall of Famer to name Geroux aboard Roadster for the 2019 Kentucky Derby.


The mount opened this week on the Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner, who had Mike Smith up in his last race, when Smith opted to stick with the Arkansas Derby (G1) hero Omaha Beach. Geroux made his announcement only minutes after the news broke about Smith.

“We’re very appreciative that we were on the short list and that they chose us,” said Doug Bredar, Geroux’s agent.

Bredar said the Geroux camp was “cautiously optimistic” they’d be in line for the assignment on a horse that could go off as the Derby’s second betting choice in two weeks’ time.

“He’s ridden quite a few winners for Bob,” Geroux said, and also rode Restoring Hope — a bit controversially — for the barn in last year’s Belmont Stakes. “Once Derby passes by, he always leaves those horses at Churchill, and we’re one of his go-to riders.”

Geroux also bases much of the year in Kentucky. He knows the horses, horsemen and the crucial run up to the first turn, where Baffert always wants his runners to break and establish early position.


Bredar said Geroux also got to know owner Speedway Stable’s Peter Fluor over dinner.

“When he rides a horse for me, he doesn’t feel intimidated,” Baffert told the Inside Churchill Downs crew. Some guys, if they’re riding for you, they’re a little bit intimidated. They’re afraid to make a mistake. He’s great about that.”

Roadster drilled Saturday through an impressive workout from the gate at Santa Anita Park, going the distance in 1:13.60 while dusting his workmate. The son of Quality Road will be making his third start off the layoff at Churchill Downs.

Derby links

 For the latest on contenders stabled at Churchill Downs, Saturday’s Kentucky Derby update includes work plan updates with more on Improbable.

 Meanwhile, at Keeneland, Code of Honor didn’t seem to mind the off going with John Velazquez in town for his penultimate breeze.

 Reporting from Churchill Downs, EJ Clark, in his latest Road to the Derby podcast, interviews trainers Bill Mott and Bret Calhoun for more on their horses.

In case you missed it…

Friday’s Derby Daily report featured Cutting Humor, who’s so far earning his way into the race for trainer Todd Pletcher.


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Horse Racing Nation's Kentucky Derby daily blog counts down to the May 4, 2019, race at Churchill Downs with a once-a-day update on all things Derby. Get the latest news and chatter, workout reports and a look at fields for upcoming preps all in once place.

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