To watch Florent Geroux give seemingly perfect ride after perfect ride, one would believe horsemen were drawn to his innate ability almost immediately. But it’s been a tumultuous journey to the top for the 30-year-old Frenchman.
When Geroux, then the leading apprentice in France, came to the states in 2007 he planned to ride the entire fall meet at Keeneland. However, an opening day spill saw him suffer a broken wrist and two fractured vertebrae. After several months of recuperation, Geroux relocated to the Chicago area. But according to his agent Doug Bredar, it took a while before things got better.
It’s really been a work in progress,” Bredar told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “We started close to the bottom.”
Bredar said that he “often got texts afterward from the trainers saying not to expect to ride the horse the next time,” but jockey and agent persevered.
“We’d beat some guy in a race, and [Geroux] would give a really good ride,” Bredar said. “And the next time I’d not only be able to ride back the horse that won and moved up in conditions, but I’d get the mount that finished second to him.”
Bredar continued; “I was always impressed with [Geroux]. He’s just such a smart kid. I really felt there was so much potential there and that he could be a star someday. Every year, he has improved leaps and bounds.”
Geroux has a knack for riding on turf, owing to his schooling in France, which races almost exclusively on the surface.
“Turf horses are push button,” Geroux told the Chicago Tribune. “Just push back, pull the trigger and they are there when you need them.”
One of his favorite current mounts is probably Da Big Hoss, who has now compiled four straight stakes wins on the lawn after taking the Grade III Kentucky Turf Cup earlier in September.
“He just loves to win,” Geroux said. “It doesn’t matter where he is. When you ask him to go, he goes. He always seems to find a way to find the wire.”
Geroux has 25 graded stakes wins, seven of which were Grade Is, to his credit this year (as of this publishing), with his most recent coming aboard Sarah Sis in the Grade II Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes on Sept. 19. She could be Breeders’ Cup bound later this year, and Geroux knows a thing or two about succeeding at the annual thoroughbred championship series.
Geroux’s first Breeders’ Cup win came when he upset the 2014 Sprint aboard Work All Week. In 2015, Geroux would add two more Breeders’ Cup trophies to his mantle with Catch a Glimpse (Juvenile Fillies Turf) and Mongolian Saturday (Turf Sprint).
Geroux’s first Derby mount came just this year with Louisiana Derby winner Gun Runner, who settled for third in the ‘Run for the Roses.’ But Geroux is bound to line up plenty of mounts in the Triple Crown series in the years to come.
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