Two-time defending Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots champion jockey Florent Geroux is ready for an attempt at the hat trick and is stacked with seven rides on the 10-race opening day card. The native of Normandy, France, is fresh off the biggest win in his career when guiding Fair Grounds-based 2016 Louisiana Derby winner Gun Runner to victory in the Grade I $6-million Breeders’ Cup Classic. Said victory made the Three Chimneys Farm and Winchell Thoroughbreds-owned and Steve Asmussen-trained son of Candy Ride the likely Horse of the Year for 2017.
“I’m ready for a big season, hopefully, and I feel good,” Geroux said. “The Classic was an amazing experience, but that is the past and now I look forward to the next race, not only with Gun Runner, but with every horse. Every race is important and I’m ready to ride hard no matter where I’m riding.
“I think I come in with the same confidence as the last few years,” Geroux continued. “When you ride the right horses in a good spot, you’re in good shape and hopefully that happens. Today I’m pretty confident. There are a few horses I have never ridden, but I have been on Wheatfield and Don’tmesswithjoanne and they both are good fillies. I also think Trust Factor will be tough. All of my horses have good chances and I look forward to today and the rest of the meet.”
Going into Saturday’s card, Geroux has 159 victories in 2017, has struck at 18% and garnered purses just under $13.5 million. In the last category, he is ranked seventh in the nation in purses, with only Jose Ortiz, Javier Castellano, Irad Ortiz Jr., Mike Smith, John Velazquez and Joel Rosario ahead of him.
Last season, Geroux earned 98 victories, demolishing his competition by a 37-win gap back to Robby Albarado. The year prior, 2015-16, it was a 21-win gap back to Mitchell Murrill when earning 87 victories.