05/24/2006 11:00PM

LeBlanc is Gomez honoree


John LeBlanc, best remembered as the jockey of the Canadian-bred sensation La Prevoyante in the early 1970's, has been named this year's recipient of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award.

The Gomez Award is given to a person who is Canadian-born, Canadian-raised, or was a regular rider in Canada for more than five years and has been a significant contributor to the sport. It is presented annually on Woodbine Oaks Day, June 11 this year.

Gomez died following a spill in the 1990 Oaks. A life-size statue of him overlooks Woodbine's walking ring, and a replica is presented to the award-winner.

LeBlanc, born in New Brunswick in 1939, began working at Windfields Farm in 1960 and became an apprentice jockey the following year.

After starting out at Montreal's Blue Bonnets and campaigning there and at Ohio's Thistledown, where he won his first race in October 1961, LeBlanc came to the Ontario circuit in 1963 and was based here until retiring in 1990.

The undisputed highlight of LeBlanc's career was riding La Prevoyante, whom he piloted throughout a perfect 12-start campaign in 1972. Their victories included Belmont's Matron and Frizette, Laurel's Selima, and Garden State's Gardenia.

La Prevoyante was North America's champion 2-year-old filly and was both the Horse of the Year and champion 2-year-old filly in Canada that year.

LeBlanc also recorded stakes wins with Canadian stars Kennedy Road and Glorious Song.

LeBlanc's career included 1,466 winners. He currently helps out at the Woodbine barn of his son, trainer John LeBlanc Jr.