With his win aboard Da Big Hoss in Saturday’s Grade III Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup, jockey Florent Geroux has notched twenty-three graded stakes victories in 2016. It was his fiftieth career graded stakes win.
Going one and a half miles on the Franklin, Kentucky turf-only course, Geroux and the prohibitive-favorite Michael Maker charge bested trainer Tim Glyshaw’s Bullards Alley by a length and a quarter to take home the lion’s share of the $600,000 purse.
The thirty-year old Frenchman is having the best year of his career, which started in 2010 on the Chicago circuit.
Geroux won his first graded stakes race in 2010 in the Grade 3 Pucker Up Stakes aboard Dade Babe at Arlington Park on Sept. 6 of that year. That win with the three-year old Danny Miller-trained filly was his only graded stakes triumph of 2010.
He and Da Big Hoss have won four graded stakes this year: the Grade III John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes at Sam Houston in January, the Grade II Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland in April, the Grade III American St. Leger at Arlington Park in August and Saturday’s Kentucky Turf Cup at Kentucky Downs.
The horse he’s had the most graded stakes success with to date has been Catch a Glimpse, whom he has piloted to seven victories, including last year’s Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf — one of his three career Breeders’ Cup wins.
He also won the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint aboard Work All Week and the 2015 Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint with Mongolian Saturday.
To date, Geroux has achieved eight grade 1 wins, eight grade 2 wins, and 34 grade 3 victories.
Geroux followed his one graded stakes win in 2010 with two in 2011, one in 2012, two in 2013, seven in 2014 and 14 last year.
He currently sits in fifth place in the North American jockey earnings standings in 2016, largely due to his mounts aboard Da Big Hoss, Gun Runner, Chocolate Ride, Catch a Glimpse, Cavorting and I’m a Chatterbox.
His best finish earnings-wise was last year, when he finished 13th in the nation with $10,233,677 in purses. This year, he has surpassed the $12 million mark and, with the Keeneland meet looming, as well as the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, he will surely have many chances to add to that total.
Other notable graded stakes winners under Geroux have been The Pizza Man, who won the Grade III Stars and Stripes Stakes at Arlington Park twice (2014 and 2015), as well as the Grade I Arlington Million last year; Sea Calisi, who won the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park last month; and World Approval, who won the Grade I United Nations at Monmouth Park in July of this year.
Although he has yet to win a Triple Crown race, Geroux did have success on the Derby trail with Gun Runner this year. The Steve Asmussen-trained, and Winchell Thoroughbreds-owned colt by Candy Ride won the Grade II Risen Star Stakes and Grade II Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds this spring before finishing third in the Kentucky Derby — the best Triple Crown race finish Geroux has had to date.
Gun Runner went on to win the Grade III Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs in June, after skipping the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Geroux may garner his first nomination as Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey this year, as he will look to unseat Javier Castellano, who has won the award the past three years.
With four more graded stakes victories this year, Geroux will have matched his career total graded stakes wins from 2010 to 2015. Odds are that he will surpass that easily.