Thursday, October 5, 2006 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . October 5, 2006 . . . Jockey Julien Leparoux broke a 38-year-old Turfway Park record Thursday, winning three races on the card to boost his Fall Meet total to 38 wins, one more than the meet record set by Glen Brogan in 1968.
The record-breaking effort came down to the last strides of the last race of the last night of the meet as Leparoux's mount, Marianas, lost the lead nearing the wire but fought back to win by a head.
"I just learned about the record today," Leparoux said. "I know the record was from a long time ago. I try to win every time—I don't know the records. Races are won one-by-one."
The mark is the second consecutive Turfway meet record set by Leparoux, who won 167 races in the 2006 Winter/Spring Meet.
Leparoux, 23, began working as a stable hand and exercise rider in his native France when he turned 18, but he had been riding since he was 11 and was well acquainted with racing; his father, Robert, had been an assistant trainer before his death in 2003. Leparoux arrived at Santa Anita that year to work as an exercise rider for trainer Patrick Biancone. He rode his first races at Saratoga in 2005, winning three in 20 starts.
Leparoux first rode at Turfway in the fall of 2005 when he finished second in the Kentucky Cup Classic (G2) just five weeks after receiving his apprentice's license. After topping the Turfway standings in the 2006 Winter/Spring Meet, he became the first apprentice to win a Keeneland title, tying for the honors with Rafael Bejarano in the spring. Moving to Churchill Downs, he won that track's spring title as well, and then earned 28 wins at Saratoga, the record there for an apprentice. He earned 18 stakes wins as an apprentice, also a record, including the Grade I Beverly D. with Biancone trainee Gorella. Leparoux completed his apprenticeship and advanced to journeyman status on September 25.
In addition to the 38 wins, Leparoux earned 33 seconds and 16 thirds at Turfway for total purse earnings of $527,569 for the Fall Meet. He has led all North American riders by wins since the first day of 2006 and now has 345 for the year. His mounts this year have earned more than $9.2 million, most of it earned while he was still an apprentice to establish yet another record.