Kentucky Derby Jockey Profile: Florent Geroux

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

April 28th, 2021

Who is Florent Geroux?

Normally, one doesn’t expect to see a standout apprentice jockey from France shift his tack to the United States and carve out a productive career riding elite dirt horses. Yet that’s exactly the path Florent Geroux has taken to achieve renown as one of North America’s leading riders.

The 36-year-old jockey rode his first U.S. race in 2007 and picked up his initial victory the following year. Before long he was winning races left and right, nabbing a large handful of graded stakes on the Illinois circuit before bursting onto the national scene with an upset victory aboard Work All Week in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).

Geroux has been on the rise ever since. His mounts earned at least $10 million every year from 2015-20, including a career-best $21.4 million haul in 2018. More than 1,700 victories have come Geroux’s way, including 137 graded wins. He’s been the regular rider of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner and two-time champion Monomoy Girl, who have combined to contribute 13 of Geroux’s 35 Grade 1 wins.

Many of Geroux’s greatest triumphs have come in two-turn dirt routes. Over the Kentucky Derby conditions of 1 1/4 miles on dirt, Geroux has compiled an excellent 27-5-2-3 (19%) resume highlighted by a gate-to-wire victory aboard Gun Runner in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Geroux will seek another career-defining success over 1 1/4 miles when he guides Mandaloun in the 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs.

What are Jockey Florent Geroux's Records related to the Kentucky Derby?

Below are statistics for Geroux's efforts at race tracks with more than two Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races, plus lifetime data at the 1 1/4 mile distance and Churchill Downs specifically.

Lifetime record over 1 1/4 miles on dirt:

Starts Wins Places Thirds
27 5 2 3
  Win % ITM % ROI %
  19% 37% -40%

Lifetime record in the Kentucky Derby:

Starts Wins Places Thirds
4 0 0 1
  Win % ITM % ROI %
  0% 25% -100%

Lifetime record stats compiled by Ed DeRosa and are through 2020.

All stats from Jan. 1, 2016 through April 20, 2021. Generated by STATSMASTER, Powered by TrackMaster, an Equibase Company

Let’s take a moment to review Geroux’s record (from 2016 onward) riding over any dirt or synthetic track where multiple Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races are contested.

Geroux at Churchill Downs

Although Geroux has never won a meet title at Churchill Downs, he’s carved out a solid record over the main track, going 165-for-1,019 (16%) since 2016. Most notably, Geroux has won the Kentucky Oaks (G1) twice aboard Shedaresthedevil (2020) and Monomoy Girl (2018), with the latter filly later carrying Geroux to triumphs in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) and 2020 La Troienne (G1) at Churchill Downs.

All told, Geroux has won eight Grade 1 races over Louisville’s legendary dirt oval. All were two-turn dirt routes, demonstrating Geroux’s skill at riding the approximate conditions of the Kentucky Derby. To date, Geroux’s best finish in the Run for the Roses is a third-place effort aboard Gun Runner, who later won the Clark H. (G1) and Stephen Foster H. (G1) at Churchill Downs.

Geroux at Fair Grounds

Among jockeys who have ridden more than 100 races at Fair Grounds since 2016, none have compiled a higher win rate than Geroux, who visits the winner’s circle 27% of the time. The leading jockey by races won at the 2015-16 and 2016-17 meets, Geroux has won a bevy of important stakes over the Fair Grounds main track.

On the Road to the Kentucky Derby alone, Geroux has claimed the Louisiana Derby (G2) aboard Gun Runner (2016) and Wells Bayou (2020), plus three editions of the Risen Star (G2) courtesy of Gun Runner (2016), Mr. Monomoy (2020), and Mandaloun (2021).

Geroux at Gulfstream Park

Although Geroux has gone just 2-for-19 (11%) over the Gulfstream main track since 2016, he saved his two victories for some very big occasions. In 2018, he executed a masterful ride aboard Gun Runner in the Pegasus World Cup (G1), overcoming a tricky outside post draw to win the $16.3 million race by 2 1/2 lengths. Geroux then repeated the feat in the 2020 Fountain of Youth (G2), gunning Ete Indien out of post 10 to avoid a wide trip and win for fun.

Geroux at Keeneland

Geroux has been a force to reckon with at Keeneland, winning the most races of any jockey at the 2018 and 2019 spring meets. Between 2018 and 2020 he won at a 22% clip over the Keeneland main track, highlighted by wins in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) and 2018 Ashland (G1) aboard two-time champion Monomoy Girl.

But Geroux’s momentum slowed during the 2021 Keeneland spring meet; from April 2-18, Geroux went just 2-for-18 (11%), albeit while splitting his focus between Keeneland and Oaklawn Park.

Geroux at Oaklawn Park

Geroux’s 41-for-172 (24%) record at Oaklawn since 2016 is solid, but he’s been even hotter since shifting his tack to Oaklawn on a more regular in 2021, going 30-for-111 (27%). His major victories this season include the Azeri (G2), Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3), and Bayakoa (G3), along with the Smarty Jones S. aboard Kentucky Derby contender Caddo River.

Geroux at Santa Anita

Although Geroux hasn’t won any dirt stakes at Santa Anita over the last five years, his 12-1-1-3 (8%) record does include a runner-up finish aboard Gun Runner in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). In addition, Geroux won the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) aboard Work All Week, the first Grade 1 win of his career.

Geroux at Tampa Bay Downs

Geroux’s infrequent forays to ride at Tampa Bay Downs peaked with a productive day in 2018, when he sprung a pace-tracking 19-1 upset aboard Quip in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2). For good measure, Geroux came back to execute a beautiful ground-saving ride in the 2020 Tampa Bay Derby and finish second aboard Sole Volante.

Geroux at Turfway Park

Geroux’s 4-for-25 (16%) record at Turfway since 2016 is respectable, though it doesn’t tell the full story. All four of those victories came in 2021, and more specifically on March 27, when Geroux made a day trip to Turfway and went 4-for-11 (36%). It was a lucrative afternoon, as Geroux walked away with victories in the Bourbonette Oaks and Latonia S. to his credit.