The Kentucky Derby is finally here, and bets are being placed on which horse will win the race.
Jockey Florent Geroux will be riding Noble Indy this year, and has 30-1 odds of winning, according to CBS Sports.
Who Geroux? What’s his background in the sport, and what should you know about him? Read on.
1. He Won the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic
In 2017, Geroux won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, riding on Gun Runner.
The 31-year-old was born in Argentan, France. At age 13, he was accepted to the French riding academy, Afasec. He moved ot the US in 2007, and continued in his family’s business of horse racing. At this point in time, Geroux has completed over 1,000 races.
In an interview with My New Orleans, Geroux explains, “My father was a jockey. I went to jockey school when I turned 13. Before that, I wasn’t really into horse riding. I liked soccer. But I went to school and learned about both riding and taking care of horses.”
Geroux has had a slow but steady rise to the top. Speaking about his career with the Courier-Journal, trainer Roger Brueggemann says, “He always has been a good rider… He just never absolutely got on the right horses. Now he’s getting on better horses.”
Geroux hoped he opened people’s eyes after his Breeders’ Cup win. “I think people thought we just got lucky, with an Illinois-bred,” he said. “After the Breeders’ Cup, the phone wasn’t ringing like crazy.”
2. He Is Married with Two Children
Geroux is married Kasey Spindler, the daughter of jockey Louis Spindler. Together, the couple has two children, Olivia and Celine.
The two met in Chicago, and according to The Advocate, Kasey helped Geroux learn English upon moving here.
Together, the family lives in Louisville. Prior to that, they lived in Chicago so that Geroux could start his immigration process.
3. 2015 Was His Breakout Year
It wasn’t until 2015 that Geroux really broke out as a jockey. His first Grade I victory came in 2014, after which he won the Arlington Million and Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Speaking to The Advocate, Geroux explains, “People began to know me more… They had more faith in me. When you win big races, more people trust that you can win them for them. I came to the Fair Grounds because the trainers I ride for are here, and I get good percentages.”
He says that the hardest part of his job is staying fit mentally. ” If you lose too many days in a row, it can be hard. But you have to remember that sometimes it’s all about the horse. If the horse is slow, there’s nothing you can do. On the other side, the more you win, the more your confidence grows and the better you get,” he says.
4. He Is Considered a Very Versatile Rider
Trainer Larry Jones’ describes Geroux as a very versatile rider. “… Florent has very good hands, and that’s something I don’t know how to explain. The biggest thing is that he is very versatile. He is not a one-dimensional rider. She ran three different races with him and won all three.”
Geroux has had a difficult year. In December, he lost his father, Dominique, after he sustained head injuries from a fall on Christmas Eve.
Speaking about his late father, Geroux says, “He loved the horse, like all my friends and family,” Geroux said. “Horse of a lifetime for everyone involved. Riding those kinds of races and having our family and friends supporting you in the moment, it’s priceless. (Dominique) saw most of Gun Runner’s wins, only a few he missed. The Breeders’ Cup Classic was the last time he saw me on a horse.”
After his father’s death, Geroux posted on Twitter, “It is with a broken heart I announce my father Dominique Geroux passed away today. He was my #1 fan, the best dad and an incredible grandfather. He was loved by the racing community and loved everyone, too. I miss him terribly already. Je t’aime Papa.”
5. He Hopes to Win the Derby
Like his fellow competitors, Geroux is vying to take home the title. “When you’re a jockey, you always want to win the Kentucky Derby once in your career when you come to this country,” he said.
He continued, “I’m just hoping for a good year and to be very consistent, just riding some good horses and winning big races.”
He admits that winning is, for everyone, a high. “The most exciting part, of course, is the win. That’s all that counts, really, isn’t it? But truly, every race is different. With each race, it’s never a sure thing,” he tells My New Orleans.
Source: Heavy Sports