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updated: 8/14/2014 8:53 PM

Jockey Geroux has rare opportunity at Arlington

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  • Florent Geroux will ride trainer Wayne Catalano's I'm Already Sexy, above, in Saturday's Beverly D. at Arlington International Racecourse. Geroux will ride in three of the four stakes races on Saturday.

      Florent Geroux will ride trainer Wayne Catalano's I'm Already Sexy, above, in Saturday's Beverly D. at Arlington International Racecourse. Geroux will ride in three of the four stakes races on Saturday.
    Photo courtesy of Four Footed Fotos

 
 

Florent Geroux, who has ridden at more than 50 race tracks in France, gives credit for his success as a jockey in the United States to the "American dream".

While many jockeys can only dream of riding three of the four races in the Festival of Racing at Arlington International Racecourse, that's the opportunity the French-born Geroux will have Saturday.

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In quite a rarity, he will pilot the same three horses he guided to victory last month on Million Preview Day -- trainer Todd Pletcher's Divine Oath, trainer Wayne Catalano's I'm Already Sexy, and trainer Roger Bruegemann's The Pizza Man.

Only Javier Castellano is slated to ride in all four stakes races, which include the Arlington Million.

"I am grateful to have the chance to ride all three horses right back," said the 28-year-old Geroux. "And hopefully I can show people I can ride at the highest level."

Arlington fans know all about Geroux's skills. Going into the week, he led the local jockey colony with the $1,762,648 in earnings from his horses in 333 rides.

He has a chance to add to that total Saturday.

"They (trainers and owners) are all excellent horsemen and great people to work with," said Geroux's agent, Doug Bredar, a Maine West High School alum. "It would be a long shot to win all three, but at least we have a chance. I'd be thrilled to win one."

Geroux thrilled Arlington fans on July 12 when he won three Grade III races: the Stars and Stripes (The Pizza Man), the American Derby (Divine Oath) and the Modesty Handicap (I'm Already Sexy).

Those triumphs helped boost Geroux's lead over James Graham ($1,574,698). Graham started the week with the most wins at the meet, leading Geroux 66-63.

"I am super happy with the meet so far," Geroux said. "We have more wins already than we did all last summer (tied for third with 58 wins). So with still more than a month to go, everything is a bonus."

The bonus for Geroux was his big day on July 12.

"That was pretty cool," he said. "It's hard to win three graded stakes, especially on local horses. To win three in one day was really nice."

Geroux, who won the 2011 Hawthorne fall meet, is well aware of the tougher competition he'll face Saturday.

"You can't think the other horses are better," he said. "You've got to have faith in your horse, ride the same way, and hope they can repeat.

"It's nice that these trainers give you the call back. They can get anyone to ride their horses. Who's going to refuse Todd Pletcher? It's great we got lucky and can ride them all back."

The Pizza Man comes back looking for his fifth straight win as the 9-2 morning line choice in the St. Leger.

"His last race was the first time he was in the lead all the way," Geroux said. "I don't think that's where he wants to be.

"In the Stars and Stripes last year, he came from 11 lengths back (to finish third). He's probably a little better this year because he has more tactical speed and is a stronger horse."

Divine Oath is 8-1 in the Secretariat morning line. The 3-year-old son of Broken Vow has 3 wins in 5 starts and has never been worse than fourth.

"He can sit off the pace and has a nice late run," Geroux said. "I think he'll run the same way this time."

I'm Already Sexy, who also won the Pucker Up at Arlington under Geroux last summer, is a 20-1 longshot in the Beverly D.

"She's the kind of filly who likes to be close to the lead," Geroux said. "But she doesn't have to be on the lead. She can stay off the pace and still win."

With three stakes wins, Geroux is just one shy of his total last season at Arlington.

"I'm grateful that this is part of the American dream and a country where everyone gets a chance," Geroux said. "It's really true that hard work pays off."

On Saturday, perhaps more dreams can come true.

• Follow John's reports on Twitter@DHjleusch.

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