The Jockeys' Guild and JockeyTalk360.com, a website devoted completely to jockeys and their craft, have honored both Florent Geroux and T. D. Houghton for their riding accomplishments in 2015. Geroux was named The Most Improved Rider for 2015 and Terry Duane Houghton was named The Comeback Rider of The Year.
Geroux gave the voting panel of experts an impressive set of statistics to consider in their decision. The 29 year old native of France improved upon his ranking as the 62nd leading rider in wins in 2014 with 143 victories to a total of 175 wins in 2015, moving him up to 32nd place for that category. He made even greater strides in total earnings with his best year ever. In 2015 he earned $10,233,677, an increase of $4,407,646 from 2014.
The majority of that increase came from his impressive stakes earnings in 2015. Geroux won a total of 27 stakes including the Arlington Million, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, and the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. The native of France was exceptional on the turf all season winning some of the year's biggest races on the grass and capturing the riding title at the short but lucrative all grass meeting at Kentucky Downs by a wide margin.
“It's an honor to win this award,” said Geroux. “I really want to thank all the owners and trainers who gave me an opportunity to ride this season, not to mention the exceptional horses that ran so well for me. They were the ones that made this possible and made for such an exceptional year. My agent, Doug Bredar, and I worked hard all year and now looking back after the big wins and awards like this it seems like the hard work clearly paid off.”
The second of the two new honors was for The Comeback Rider of The Year for the 2015 season. The winner of this award was T.D. Houghton, who the voters believed achieved the most success last year while overcoming a previous injury, hardship or personal setback.
In March of 2014, Houghton suffered multiple breaks in his collarbone and a T9 fracture to his vertebra in a fall at Mountaineer Park. He returned to the saddle in the summer to ride at Hazel Park then suffered severe injuries following a spill at Mountaineer again in October of 2014. Houghton overcame an injury riddled 2014 to win riding titles at both Mountaineer and Mahoning Valley Racecourse in 2015. The veteran rider won 258 races and his mounts earned $3,470,309 in 2015. That was a great improvement over his 2014 totals of 67 wins for $866,604 in earnings.
Houghton was quick to thank both his agent, Tim Freking, and trainer Robert Gorham for their help when returning to the races. “I really owe Bob for talking me into coming to the new Mahoning Valley course in Ohio. I had maybe planned on going to Charles Town as soon as I got back riding but Bob said he had some nice horses for us to ride in Ohio so we did. We got off to a great start and have done well there ever since.”
Houghton rode at both Mountaineer and Mahoning Valley early in the year winning the riding title at Mountaineer in the spring and just missing the first ever riding title at new Mahoning Valley. He would take that title later in the year at the Mahoning Valley Winter meeting.
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