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Leparoux confirms move to Southern California circuit
By Marty McGee
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Two-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Julien Leparoux confirmed widespread speculation Friday that he will move his tack to the Southern California circuit at month’s end.
Leparoux, 29, will be riding throughout the 17-day fall meet at Keeneland, where he has won or tied for leading rider at 8 of the last 13 meets, including the last four. He said the move to California coincides with his Dec. 10 marriage to Shea Mitchell, the daughter of California training veteran Mike Mitchell, who has been experiencing health problems after undergoing major surgery this summer for a brain tumor.
“My personal life is the main reason I am moving to California,” Leparoux said.
Leparoux will have a new agent in Joe Ferrer, who will continue to work for Rafael Bejarano.
A native of France, Leparoux announced earlier this year that he was making a permanent circuit of Gulfstream Park in the winter and New York at all other times of the year, with the move becoming effective in May. He met with moderate results during those first few months, winning with 11 of 104 mounts at the spring Belmont Park meet and 23 of 193 at Saratoga.
Leparoux had been based mostly in Kentucky during a career that began in 2005. He won an Eclipse for top apprentice in 2006 and for top jockey in 2009.
Leparoux briefly tried the Southern California circuit, riding the 2006-07 winter meet at Santa Anita and winning with 5 of 49 mounts. One of his career highlights, however, came at Santa Anita during the 2009 Breeders’ Cup, when he won three races to earn the Bill Shoemaker Award.
Steve Bass, Leparoux’s agent for the last seven years, said he was proud of what they accomplished together.
“We won five Breeders’ Cups, two Eclipses, and 21 riding titles in Kentucky,” said Bass, who will work for Leandro Goncalves at Keeneland and Churchill Downs the next two months.
It's an interesting move that Julien Leparoux. He tried Southern California like 5 years ago but didn't work due to several cancellations that happened at the time at Santa Anita. His new agent also represents Rafael Bejarano who's the top Southern California jokey out right now. Do you think Julien is doing it because he's going to get married to Mike Mitchell's daughter Shea? Maybe since Mike had a health scare this year and maybe Julien is willing to be close to his in-laws. Anyway, going back on the move well I think that he should've made the decision to come here when the Del Mar meet began and right away when Joel Rosario was going to leave Southern California for New York. Julien wanted to see how he did at at Saratoga which was a moderate success and didn't get the kind of success in NY that he had hoped for like he was having in Kentucky. It's good that he's joining the Southern California riding colony since we did lose a major talent in Rosario and adding Leparoux to the colony seems to make the colony look great again. With the jockeys here in California, I don't think guys like Bejarano and Garrett Gomez, maybe even Joe Talamo aren't going to affect their businesses. So will it affect the businesses of Edwin Maldonado or Martin Garcia??? Will he hurt the business of the return of Tyler Baze??? Maybe he'll take business away from Maldonado, Garcia and Baze but I don't think he won't hurt Bejarano, Gomez or Talamo. Leparoux will probably round out the top 5 between 4th or 5th. The only way Julien will make it here is if the top trainers use him. If you want to be a top jockey then you need to be riding for guys like Bob Baffert, Doug O'Neill, Pete Miller, John Sadler and Mike Mitchell to be able to be relevant. I remember when Julien was starting out winning titles left and right in Kentucky just like the way Bejarano was too. At one point, Leparoux and Bejarano were battling out titles at both Keeneland and Churchill Downs. That was fun to watch for a couple years and certainly both have gone on to have continued success. Of course Leparoux does have an Eclipse Award twice for both Outstanding Apprentice and Jockey. Sure would be nice to see an Eclipse Award winner do their campaign out in Southern California and I'd like to see Bejarano win one too since Bejarano is getting quality of mounts like a Bob Baffert. This year it's been mixed for Julien with his success this year and maybe the Southern California may work out this time and maybe the circuit he can make outside of KY. I think Julien's talent is on turf and put him on a horse that can come from behind and win with clear sailing then he's going to win. I think Julien will do fine and it'll take time and I think he'll be winning races on turf.
We have 42 jockry agents writing here and so many jockeys in need of one. Can one of you people who posted, lend a hand. You ALL seem to know everything. Let me clue you all into a very important fact. You can strap a monkey to a horses back and they would break well and make both turns. Without the horse, the jockey has NOTHING.
Its a french invasion ,its Napoleon.. No everyone its just LEPAROOoooooooooooooooooooooo
Julian is not a top notch rider, he rides the turf very well, but he will never win a riding title and I am positive after Mitchell passes away he and Shea will leave for NY, but being as close a family as they are she will NOT leave Calif. while he's still alive. I commend him for doing the right thing for his new family but it will NOT be a permanent move
Chantal fails breathalyzer on weekend at Woodbine, ha ha.. how the pretty and mighty have fallen....good luck jl........
The one real chink in Julian's armour would be dirt sprints. Other than that, really good rider with the potential to be a great rider. Certainly fits anywhere, the real challenge is the possible lack of opportunity in SoCal. Field sizes have been better of late, hopefully that trend continues. I sure do miss Rosario. He looked real good Sunday @ Belmont.
FANTASTIC! This is just what California racing needs. More French.
Certainly a telented rider but one who cant distinguish (yet) 2 very important things: Track bias and his competitions running style. Have seen him beoutridden and outthought by Ramon and the wolf pack consistently. Rosario much better suited to NY racing
Julien is a Great Rider. But, he has already ridden in CA. He flopped & went to Fair Grounds. The new agent may help.
JL will do ok in So. Cal. He'll get acclimated and will surprise the naysayers. Every great rider has thrown in some really bad rides. Arcaro on Nashua in the Derby; Shoe on Gallant Man in the Derby........Smith in the Belmont...............Pat Day, Jerry Bailey.................we could go on and on.I saw them. Union Rags, was NOT the horse at three that he was at two because the other horses matured more from two to three.He did not improve that much.True, JL did not give him a great ride, but he wasn't going to beat the winner. The Belmont was a weak group of leftovers. Paynter was probably best, A tip to all of you ........................don't believe all the hype you read in the Form as they start talking Ky, Derby. Writers are writers, not necessarily good handicappers. Riders are riders....................the worst touts of all. A really good trainer knows HIS horse.He might even be able to gauge a competitor. A really good handicapper being objective has a very good chance to make money in this game. You will always have the bad beat in a race that you like from time to time..................Live with it!! The big advantage you will have with JL in California, is you will get better odds on a horse you like with a decent rider aboard. For a number of years when Pat Day rode at Saratoga and at Gulfstream, I made a ton of money because of the idiots who were prejudiced against him allowing him to go off at high odds.
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