09/15/2012 2:44PM

Keeneland: Leparoux returning to Kentucky to ride fall meet


Julien Leparoux, who has won or tied for leading rider at 8 of the last 13 meets at Keeneland, has reversed a prior stance and will be returning from New York after all to ride throughout the 17-day fall meet at the Lexington, Ky., track.

Leparoux’s agent, Steve Bass, said the 29-year-old Frenchman will ride at Belmont through Sept. 30 before leaving for Kentucky to prepare for the Keeneland meet that begins Oct. 5. Before this change in plans, Bass had said several weeks ago that Leparoux intended to remain in New York for most of October. Into Saturday, Leparoux was just 1 for 17 to open the Belmont fall meet.

Leparoux has been the leading rider at the last four Keeneland meets, dating to fall 2010. After Keeneland and the Breeders’ Cup, he most likely will ride the Churchill fall meet before moving to Gulfstream for the four-month winter meet that starts Dec. 1.

Request surprises Turfway GM

Lee Dillard, acting general manager at Turfway Park, said in a brief recent interview at the Florence, Ky., track that a recent announcement by Churchill Downs to consider applying for September dates in 2013 came as something of a surprise.

Dillard, a 12-year executive with Caesars Entertainment, the primary parent company of Turfway, said that “just because someone raises their hand and says they want dates doesn’t mean they should or will get them. I’ve had talks with a couple of [Kentucky Horse Racing Commission] members, and they said they are looking out for the best interests of racing in the state. We also want what’s in the best interest of racing, and we’re hopeful we will get the September dates we have requested.”

Maybe So has back injury

Maybe So, a promising winner of both career starts, is recovering at Longfield Farm just east of Louisville, trainer Al Stall Jr. said this week. The 2-year-old colt suffered a fractured vertebra near his tailbone in a training mishap last month.

“Ideally, I’d like to have him back in New Orleans before the end of the year,” Stall said. “Positionally, the injury could have been a lot worse than it is. In the genre of back injuries, his is about as good as they come in terms of a favorable long-term prognosis.”

* Dullahan and Little Mike, both possible starters for the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on Sept. 29 on the Belmont Park turf, breezed five furlongs Saturday over a fast Churchill main track. Dullahan went in 1:01.80, and Little Mike went in 1:03.20.

“Just maintenance works,” said trainer Dale Romans.