East Coast jockeys Leparoux, Garcia head west for El Camino Real Derby

by | 02.13.2012 | 6:55am

French rider Julien Leparoux, a two-time champion jockey in the U.S., and Peruvian rider Alan Garcia, who won the 2008 Belmont Stakes aboard longshot Da' Tara, will both be at Golden Gate Fields Saturday to compete in the Grade 3 $200,000 El Camino Real Derby.

Leparoux, one of only four jockeys in racing history to win Eclipse Awards as champion apprentice (2006) and champion journeyman (2009), will ride Daddy Nose Best for trainer Steve Asmussen in the El Camino Real Derby.  Leparoux, 28, is currently based at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

Garcia, who guided Da' Tara to a $79.00 shocker in the final leg of the Triple Crown, will pilot Irish-bred Lucky Chappy in the El Camino Real Derby for trainer Graham Motion.  Garcia, 26, was a champion apprentice in his homeland (2003) and is currently based at Aqueduct in New York.

Leparoux and Garcia will both be making their first trips to Northern California.  Leparoux was in Southern California on Dec. 31 to ride Daddy Nose Best in the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita.  That road trip was unsuccessful as Daddy Nose Best finished fifth at the 4-to-5 favorite in the one-mile grass race.

“I went there expecting to win, but I don't think he cared for the turf there,” said Leparoux in a phone interview Sunday from the jockey's room at Gulfstream Park.  “He was getting out with me.”

In his race prior to the Eddie Logan, Daddy Nose Best rallied from seventh in a field of 10 to win a one-mile turf race at Churchill Downs by 3 1/4 lengths under Leparoux.

“He ran a very good race that day at Churchill,” said Leparoux.  “It was an impressive win.  He's got a lot of talent, and hopefully he can show that talent (in the El Camino Real Derby).  I know Steve Asmussen is very happy with how the horse is doing right now.”

A large cast is shaping up for the El Camino Real Derby, Northern California's key prep race for Kentucky Derby hopefuls.  The field will be drawn Wednesday and the following horses are expected to be entered: All Squared Away (Kerwin John will ride), Cahill Chrome (Juan Hernandez), Daddy Nose Best (Leparoux), Handsome Mike (Corey Nakatani), Lady of Fifty (Russell Baze), Lucky Chappy (Garcia), Rockinarz Recruit (Abel Cedillo), Russian Greek (Aaron Gryder), Senor Rain (Kevin Krigger), and Unveiled Heat (Frank Alvarado).

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