12/30/2016 4:50PM

Geroux gets 1,000th win of career

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Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Florent Geroux's mounts have earned nearly $17.6 million in 2016.

During the winter of 2007, the French jockey Florent Geroux was based in California. Geroux had done well as an apprentice back home, but after moving his tack to the United States he was just trying to catch on with anyone, riding about anything. He barely spoke English, and when a French-speaking acquaintance said he could get Geroux mounts on a few Arabian horses owned by Darley racing at the Los Alamitos bullring, Geroux jumped at the chance.

“The third one lost, but I won with the first two,” Geroux recalled from Fair Grounds Friday morning, a day after he had booted home the 1,000th winner of his late-blooming career.

Geroux, 30, has come a long way from those Arabian mounts, and he now stands a decent chance of being named a finalist for the Eclipse Award as leading jockey of 2016. Through 2013, Geroux’s mounts never earned $3 million during a season, but in 2015 he had purse earnings of more than $10 million, and with a couple days left in 2016 Geroux’s mounts have earned nearly $17.6 million. His national business has expanded exponentially. Geroux, who is based now in Kentucky, New Orleans, and Saratoga, travels North America on weekends to ride graded stakes. In 2016, he won 30 such races, including 10 Grade 1’s.

“One thousand wins, that’s very satisfying,” said Geroux, whose agent is Doug Bredar. “We haven’t really focused on the number of races we win. It’s more quality over quantity. We’re not trying to ride 10 a day.”

Nor are there likely to be any Arabian races in Geroux’s near-term plans.

Louisiana-breds featured

There are some maiden races with huge, playable fields on a solid nine-race Monday card, which features Louisiana-bred allowance sprinters going six furlongs on dirt in race 7.

The feature includes My Friend Flavin, who posted a 15-1 upset in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint on Dec. 10 while making his first start back from a layoff. My Friend Flavin obviously can win again, but the pick to post a mild upset is late-running Grande Basin, who might get a very solid pace at which to run.

◗ Valadorna, who finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, had her first workout since that race when she went a half-mile in 48.60 seconds Thursday at Fair Grounds. Trained by Mark Casse, Valadorna, a Curlin filly, is only a one-time winner, and Casse has said he will consider a first-level allowance race for Valadorna’s first start of 2017.