Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 5th 2017 Contents sports A53
Friday, May 5, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Leparoux helps 3
horses into Derby
...topped by Classic Empire
LOUISVILLE---For a moment
last winter, Julien Leparoux
wondered if he might be a
spectator for the Kentucky
Fast forward several months
to the jockey not only partici-
pating, but almost having mul-
tiple horses to ride in a bid to
win his first Run for the Roses.
Leparoux was always certain
to ride Classic Empire, the colt
who is the early 4-1 favorite for
tomorrrow's race at Churchill
Downs. After all, the 33-year-
old Frenchman has ridden the
colt to five victories in six starts,
including last month's Arkansas
Derby that earned a Derby spot.
On the other hand, that
Arkansas win left Leparoux
with a good problem to have
just a week after he rode Irap
to victory in the Blue Grass at
Keeneland. Three in-the-mon-
ey finishes with State of Honor
earned that horse enough Der-
by points to make the 20-horse
field as well.
"The winter's been crazy,
Derby-wise," said Leparoux,
who will break from the No
14 post with Classic Empire.
"Went from nothing to having
three in the Derby. ... We picked
up Irap and win the Blue Grass,
which was a good surprise, and
then State of Honor has run
good all winter.
"It's been a good winter and
spring, for sure."
In truth, Leparoux likely
would've merited consideration
for a Derby mount even with-
out getting a horse into the field.
The Eclipse Award-winning
jockey has nearly 2,400 wins
with seven Breeders' Cup tri-
umphs, including last year's
Juvenile aboard Classic Empire.
But by qualifying three Der-
by hopefuls in as many weeks,
Leparoux has demonstrated an
ability to coax something more
out of his mounts.
Consider that Irap entered the
Blue Grass as a 33-1 long shot
even with three seconds, a third
and three fourths mostly with
jockey Mario Gutierrez. With
Gutierrez committed to So Con-
flated for the Santa Anita Der-
by the same day, trainer Doug
O'Neill turned to Leparoux to
see if the horse could finish in
Irap went on to a three-
quarter-length upset victo-
ry as Leparoux made sure his
mount saved his best, which
didn't surprise O'Neill at all.
"He's just a phenomenal,
tremendous jockey with the 'it'
factor where horses give their
best efforts for him," O'Neill
said. "What I love about Julien
the few times I've used him is
he's very prepared. He knew
what he wanted to do in that
race and he put it to work."
Leparoux added, "When
you're a long shot, nobody pays
attention to you. So we sat sec-
ond and nobody really pressured
me, and I asked him early on to
get going." AP
Rain arrives for start of Kentucky Derby weekend
LOUISVILLE---Rain is pelting
Churchill Downs at the start
of an expected a three-day
stretch of wet weather lead-
ing up to the Kentucky Derby.
The outlook for the Kentucky
Oaks today isn't encouraging,
with a 60 percent chance of
But there are two silver lin-
The first is that the serious
preparations for the Oaks and
Derby contenders are com-
pleted, and the weather wasn't
a factor Thursday morning, with
most of the Derby horses out for
routine maintenance gallops.
The second is that the rain
could end well before the Der-
by tomorrow. While showers
are forecast in the morning, the
storm could move out before the
scheduled post time of 6.46 pm.
The dirt track at Churchill
Downs has a reputation for rap-
idly draining and drying. While
there undoubtedly will be some
residual moisture on the surface,
it might not be a muddy Derby
if the sky clears in time.
This time is our
Prerogative should be good enough to finally
gain 'winning brackets' at the 11th attempt
when facing eleven rivals in an 'aged' Maid-
en Stakes over ten furlongs of 'good to firm'
Chepstow today; there must be a good reason
why trainer Richard Hannon has kept him in
training, along with more than two-hundred
Usually 'failures' are discarded but Prerog-
ative achieved a level of consistency during
what must have been a disappointing two-
year-old campaign; in his last races Prerogative
sported headgear and that's the case on this
On the time-handicap Prerogative is 'best-in'
and will be focus of punters because twice-
raced rivals, Pondering and Tristram need to
Probably that will be the case but Prerog-
ative should be fit enough following his 2017
debut last month and, each-way, is definite-
ly worth including in our daily patent which
went close with 20/1 chance Falbon, Tuesday;
just failed to withstand the late challenge of
'hot-favourite, Alfarris, after leading nigh on
all the way.
Every now and then you just have to chance
a big-priced selection, why not?
Once those stalls have opened it's an open
playing field and horses don't know the prices
but, do the jockeys?
Vigee Le Brun carries a trump card for the
3-y-o Maiden Stakes over seven furlongs of
Lingfield polytrack; owner/trainer, Brian Mee-
han, has declared his useful 7lbs apprentice,
Jordan Uys, for this thrice-raced, 72-rated,
Dark Angel filly.
We've been sufficiently impressed with
Jordan and alerted readers some weeks ago
not to be shy of supporting the young lad in
every handicap he contests; a full allowance
so often weighs heavily against opposition. In
races over a mile it equates to at least three
lengths, and that's fact.
It's a moderate race and already we've 'pen-
ciled-in' an each-way double with Prerogative.
Massive weekend ahead, two big-priced
fancies, both from an established 'classic'
yard; don't miss out on our genuine 'classic'
Today is very much the lull before the storm
but we're looking forward to the Cheltenham
'Hunt' meeting tonight, one of the highlights
of my racing year. Form often works out well
during the latter end of this month.
Irap, right, and jockey Julien Leparoux pull ahead of Practical Joke with jockey Joel Rosario to win the
93rd running of the Blue Grass Stakes horse race at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, in April. AP PHOTO
Chepstow: 2.20 Prerogative (e.w)
Lingfield: 2.40 Vigee Le Brun (e.w)
4.10 Spiritual Star (e.w)
Under: (Last Friday)
10.30 am....................... 25-30
1 pm .................................26-11
4 pm ................. ..............23-28
6.30 pm............ .............20-34
PICK TWO SELECTIONS
5-15-17-18-19 Mx: 4
29 (Opium Man) 10.30 am
6 (Belly) 4 pm
TODAY'S STAR BETS
5 (Parson Man)
31 (Parson Wife)
LAST DRAW: THURS DAY
WHEN DE MARK BUSS FRIDAY, MAY 5, 2017
26 (Fowl) 6.30 pm
35 (Big Snake) 1 pm
Times played this year
10.30am 1pm 4pm 6.30pmTotal
02 OLD LADY
04 DEAD MAN
05PARSONMAN 2 5 7 3 17
15SICKWOMAN3 4 1 1
18WATERBOAT 4 3 3 3 13
Times played this year
10.30am 1pm 4pm 6.30pmTotal
27 LITTLESNAKE 3 5 0 2 10
28 RED FISH
29OPIUMMAN 5 2 0 3 10
30 HOUSE CAT
31PARSONWIFE2 4 3 5 14
34 BLIND MAN
35 BIG SNAKE
27 (Little Snake)
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