With a win in the Kentucky Turf Cup and top stakes and total earnings for the week, Julien Leparoux was named Jockeys' Guild Jockey of the Week for the week ending September 10, 2017. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys' Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America. Jockey of the Week is sponsored by Animal Element's Foundation Detox and Product X Performance Enhancer.
On the same weekend last year, Oscar Nominated won the $350,000 Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs; this year, he was the second-favorite in the $600,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes (G3) with Julien Leparoux scheduled to ride. The feature race of the day at Kentucky Downs on Saturday was one of only a handful of graded stakes offered on the relatively quiet weekend following the Labor Day holiday and attracted a full field of older turf horses for the 1 ½ mile event.
The fourth jockey to ride Oscar Nominated ($9.40) in his last four starts, Leparoux helped the 4-year-old son of Kitten's Joy rebound from disappointing efforts in the Arlington Million (G1) in August and the United Nations Stakes (G1) at Monmouth in July with a determined closing move in the Kentucky Turf Cup. The finish also gave trainer Mike Maker his third consecutive win in the race, after back-to-back victories with Da Big Hoss in 2015 and 2016.
Leparoux nearly swept the stakes double on Sunday with a win in the $200,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks aboard Daddys Lil Darling ($4.00) and a second-place finish with Parlor in the $350,000 Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby. The win was the first for Daddys Lil Darling since the Pocahontas (G2) nearly a year ago at Churchill Downs, but she has several second-place graded stakes finishes since then, including the Kentucky Oaks, also with Leparoux aboard.
Last week, Leparoux led all North American jockeys by total earnings, earning $1,043,650 in 23 starts, all at Kentucky Downs, where he is the current leader with just one day left in the meet. He also led by stakes earnings, with $547,800 earned in five stakes starts, including both victories and his second-place finish. He ended the week with a 26% win rate and maintained a 61% rate in the money, with six wins, five seconds and three third-place finishes.
He is seventh among North American jockeys by earnings this year, increasing his 2017 total to $10,354,402 in 567 starts. His career accomplishments to date include 2,429 wins in 13,172 and over $145 million in earnings. Leparoux has been honored as an Eclipse Award winner twice, first as an Outstanding Apprentice jockey in 2006 and again in 2009 as Outstanding Jockey.
Due to holiday racing schedules for the Labor Day holiday weekend, statistics used for this week's ballot included Tuesday, September 5, through Sunday, September 10.
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