When the live racing meet opens at Kentucky Downs on September 2, look for there to be a little riding flavor from across the pond.
Jockey Julien Leparoux has developed into one of the top riders in the Thoroughbred game. Over the last few years, the flying Frenchman has made a habit of visiting the winner’s circle at the only European style track in the United States. Over the course of his career, the native of Senlis, Oise France has landed in the winner’s circle 19 times from 111 mounts. Leparoux has been “in the money” with a top three finisher 47% of the time during that span. When riding the race favorite, Julien has delivered the pastry at a 33% clip and been in the bakery at a 59% rate. While the 2006 Eclipse Award winner has booted home winners 17% of the time, all other riders have managed to do it on an 8 % average.
“It’s a European style course and I am a European guy,” says Leparoux of the Franklin Kentucky track. “Does that make a difference, I really don’t know? Having good horses to ride is the biggest factor for sure and in that I have been very fortunate.”
Changes in recent years have made Kentucky Downs the place to be for many during their five day meet that runs during the first two weeks of September. Huge increases in purse money make the all-grass undulated course the richest per race place in the United States. Leparoux will quickly tell anyone the money is not the only thing good about the track located just north of the Tennessee state line.
“They have made a lot of improvements in recent years and not just in the earnings,” says Leparoux. “The race course itself is better now than ever and they have really done a great job there. We look very forward to the opening of the upcoming meet and hope our success there can continue.”
Live racing will begin on September 2 with September 7, 9, 10, and 14 also on the schedule. September 9 will feature the headline event of the meet, the grade 3 $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup Classic. First post on every race day is slated for approximately 1:25pm with ten races on the schedule each day.