French Jockeys Riding in the U.S.

Profile Picture: D.S. Williamson

D.S. Williamson

June 27th, 2016

The names are familiar to horse racing fans worldwide:  Jean Cruguet, Freddy Head, Jean Luc-Samyn and Olivier Peslier. Thoroughbred racing has always had its fair share of great French jockeys. In the United States, there are 4 jockeys who are French that currently ride. I might be missing a few. If I have, I apologize.

Why the reason for a blog on French jockeys riding in the United States? I started thinking about it after watching, Julien Leparoux's ride aboard Carina Mia in the Acorn Stakes. I realized that there were 4 jockeys that I always looked for in past performances. Leparoux was one of them. So was Florent Geroux and Flavien Prat. Although Brice Blanc doesn't show up in past performances as often as he used to, he's one of the reasons I fell in love with turf racing.


Julien Leparoux - Leparoux is probably the most successful French jockey to ever ride in the United States. He's won 6 Breeders Cup races including the BC Turf Mile in 2015 aboard Tepin. Leparoux also finished second aboard Macho Again in the 2008 Preakness Stakes. Since 2007 the only name that has appeared on the list of Eclipse Award winners for Outstanding Jockey that's not Garrett Gomez, Ramon Dominguez or Javier Castellano is Julien Leparoux. He won the award in 2009 making him one of the only jockeys to be named both Champion Apprentice as well as Champion Jockey.   Leparoux continues to ride strong. As of June 28, 2016, Leparoux's mounts have earned close to $5.9 million.

Florent Geroux - Geroux officially started his career in the United States in 2008. He's become one of the best jockeys in North America. Geroux is currently ranked 5th on the earnings list for 2016. His mounts have earned a remarkable $7.4 million. He has 3 Breeders Cup wins including a victory aboard Mongolian Saturday in last year's BC Turf Sprint. Geroux is the regular rider of three-year-old Gun Runner. He took that one to a third place finish in this past May's Kentucky Derby. Geroux has already made his mark and is considered the top rider in Kentucky.

Flavien Prat - While Leparoux does his riding in New York, and Geroux controls Churchill, Oaklawn and the Fairgrounds, Flavien Prat is making a name for himself on the West Coast. Prat is relatively new to the U.S. jockey scene. He had only 36 mounts in 2014. In 2015, Prat picked up 588 mounts. He already has 433 mounts as of June 28 this year. His mounts have earned a remarkable $5.41 million, which ranks Prat 12th on the jockey earnings list. Prat showed that he can take his skills on the road when riding Taris to a win in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day earlier this year.

Brice Blanc - I wanted to end my blog with one of my favorite riders of all time, the brilliant Brice Blanc. As I wrote in my introduction, Blanc is one of the reasons that I fell in love with turf racing. Brice won his very first stakes race way back in 1995 aboard Onceinabluemoon. He won the G2 Las Palmas Handicap. He's won multiple stakes races since then. Among his mounts have been Happyanunoit, Famous Digger, Revved Up and Spanish Queen. Brice won the G2 Honeymoon Stakes and the G1 American Oaks last year aboard Spanish Queen. So far, he's taken home the G2 San Gabriel and the G2 San Marcos aboard Flamboyant. He continues to show the way on the grass. There's no doubt in my mind that every time Brice Blanc steps aboard a horse in a turf race, that he's going to help that horse run the best that it can.