With just one week remaining until the end of Churchill Downs' fall meet, members of the Louisville jockey colony are making plans for the upcoming winter months.
Leading Kentucky jockeys Rafael Bejarano and Julien Leparoux will both finish the meet and retain their current agents, but Leparoux will remain in Kentucky to ride at Turfway while Bejarano moves his tack to Florida's Tropical and Gulfstream Park meets.
According to Bejarano's agent, Joe Ferrer, the 24-year-old Peruvian made the decision to stick to the East Coast circuit. He'll return to Kentucky in the spring and fall and ride at Saratoga in the summer instead of making a permanent move to California.
"We decided to stay on the East Coast even though the purses in Florida aren't that good," Ferrer said. "My jock thinks next year the purses will be better, and if you want to go out West it's a move you should pretty much make permanently. We both have homes in Florida, and even though we had a good offer to ride in California over the winter, sticking to what we've done in the past is a matter of convenience for both of us."
Other members of the Churchill colony are also keeping close to their winter routines. Mark Guidry, Robby Albarado and Corey Lanerie will all head to the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, but jockey Shaun Bridgmohan plans to tackle Aqueduct's inner track meet in New York instead of riding in Florida as he did last year.
"The main focus here is to just get through the meet," said Bridgmohan, who is currently second in the standings at Churchill and has yet to make his selection from a pool of potential New York agents. "I've been doing real good, so hopefully it'll continue that way and I'll make my decision once I'm done. I've had calls from several agents, I just haven't narrowed it down yet."
Bridgmohan will be joined in New York by his younger brother, apprentice Jermaine Bridgmohan, who began riding earlier this year and is represented by Corey Moran. The younger Bridgmohan is currently leading rider at Calder Race Course in Miami, Fla.
"He's doing very well and I'm very proud of him, he's come a long way," Bridgmohan said. "I told him if he has the chance to be leading rider at Calder, he should stay there and ride until the meet ends [Jan. 2]. Staying at Calder and riding a lot of horses is going to be good for him, and then I can pay attention a little bit closer to what he's doing when he comes to New York."