11/20/2012 3:41PM

Hollywood Park: Leparoux finds a home and a wife

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Barbara D. Livingston
On Dec. 10, Julien Leparoux is going to marry Shea Mitchell, the daughter of trainer Mike Mitchell.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The life of a traveling jockey is behind Julien Leparoux.

At the ripe old age of 29, he is settling down.

Last month, Leparoux, well known as the champion apprentice jockey of 2006, relocated to Southern California where he plans to ride on a year-round basis. The sport was not the only attraction.

On Dec. 10, Leparoux is marrying Shea Mitchell, the daughter of trainer Mike Mitchell. The couple has been dating for a year, and Shea’s home is in Southern California. She works as an entertainer at Disneyland, performing in stage shows.

“It will be a big change for me to stay in one place,” Leparoux said in an interview in the jockeys’ room on Sunday morning.

“I moved around a lot on the East Coast. This is different. I’m here to stay.”

Leparoux has ridden regularly in Florida, Kentucky, and New York. He is one of six riders to accumulate 300 career wins at Keeneland.

For now, he has no intention of hitting the road again, aside for the occasional out-of-town stakes mount. Last Saturday, he rode three winners at Churchill Downs, including Centre Court in the Mrs. Revere Stakes.

Since moving to California in late October, Leparoux has made a favorable impression. He won the Sharp Cat Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on Nov. 11 with Midnight Ballet, a candidate for the $500,000 Hollywood Starlet Stakes on Dec. 8.

This weekend, he has mounts in two of the three $250,000 turf races at Hollywood Park – Doubles Partner in Friday’s Grade 2 Citation Handicap, and Lucky Chappy in Sunday’s Grade 1 Hollywood Derby.

Lucky Chappy is trained by Graham Motion, who employed Leparoux frequently during the Keeneland fall meeting last month.

“He’s a classy guy and a very sensible rider,” Motion said. You can have confidence in him on the grass. He’s coming off a great Keeneland meet.

“I think he’ll do well out there.”

A native of France, Leparoux worked for trainer Patrick Biancone as an exercise rider before beginning his riding career in 2005.

Leparoux had the finest weekend of his career at Santa Anita in 2009, winning three Breeders’ Cup races – the Filly and Mare Sprint with Informed Decision, the Juvenile Fillies with She Be Wild, and the Dirt Mile with Furthest Land.

This month, he has three wins in the first two weeks of the Hollywood Park fall meeting, including an allowance race on the promising turf filly Qaraaba on Nov. 15. She will run in a stakes at Santa Anita next month.

“I feel comfortable,” Leparoux said of his first few weeks here. “I’ve been working horses every morning. Right away, we got off to a good start.”

Leparoux is used to contending for the riding title at meetings in Kentucky. That won’t be easy in California with riders such as Rafael Bejarano and Joe Talamo seeking the same distinction. Both Bejarano and Leparoux share an agent in Joe Ferrer.

Leparoux is on pace for his mounts to exceed $12 million in earnings this year. His mounts earned more than $13 million last year, not quite as much as his career-best of $17.4 million in 2009. He won 245 races last year and has 170 this year entering the race week.

“I’m hoping to have as good a year or better as before,” he said.

While Leparoux is committed to California racing, he does have a break scheduled. After the wedding, Leparoux and his wife will spend their honeymoon in Bora Bora, a place Leparoux has always wanted to visit.

“I’ve never been there,” he said. “I’ve saved it for the right moment.”

Pat More than 1 year ago
Good for them,..wish them all the best..keep grounded and love your wife..that's all I have to say..
laura ban More than 1 year ago
I wish him all the best, Southern California is a tough place but with a lot of hard work it can be done. Peter G - I think you're a glass half empty kind of thinker. I like to think that the glass is half full - see the bright side of life. To do otherwise keeps a person up at night and gives you worry lines. Maybe half of all marriages will fail but I say give it a try because when they do work out, it's a beautiful thing!
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
Peter G I'm glad your written response is showing just how clueless and jerky you are. Your most likely single and the only person in your life is your hand. Feel real sorry for you, hope you seek professional help real soon because you need it.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Congrats Julien! Best wishes on your upcoming nuptials.
Doug Pearson More than 1 year ago
PeterG, you are an idiot.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Ive been saying that for a long time.
PeterG More than 1 year ago
I guess the DRF Chinamen who monitor these boards don't know that 50% of marriages in this country end in divorce. Google it geniuses. My statement that Leparoux will be divorced in a few years and she will have half his money has a 50% chance of being correct. That's even money. 1 to 1. It has as much chance of being correct as all these robots on here wishing him a long and happy marriage. But you go ahead and delete the post. You were born in China after all , you know no other way.
Doug Pearson More than 1 year ago
Just because your life sucks doesn't give you the rite to wish it on someone else.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Your post was deleted because you are a fool. If it's possible, they should put your comments on auto-delete. All you do is whine, and make negative accusations of big conspiracies. But mostly you are just a fool. If the game bothers you so much, don't participate. But you should definately stop posting here.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Sounds like Peter's wife/life partner has moved on.
jay More than 1 year ago
Please go to ESPN if you want to post on sports message boards. You should feel right at home with the rest of the 12 year olds.
Joey W More than 1 year ago
Hate to see him leave Kentucky, but why not all the horses are. Good luck and Congratulations to you and your new wife Julien.
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
IT Wont Be Easy -With Leparoux-Gomez-Bejarano-Maldonado-espinosa-flores-garcia-+more quality jocks to pick from -??Dart Board Anyone-lolk-DS
ron More than 1 year ago
dont forget joe t. andmartin garcia
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Most of the posts vanished, PeterG now there is a conspiracy theory, we have been taken over by the Chinese Drf affliate....
John More than 1 year ago
He is anj excellent rider at getting a horse to settle and make one run , unfortuantly, the bias angled to wards speed is a draw back. But, hes going to fit in well ! Good Luck Julien and Happy Thanksgiving Everyone !