Leparoux won aboard two of 16 mounts during the current Santa Anita meeting and encountered difficulties building up business – due in part to the erratic schedule of racing as Santa Anita fought issues with the Cushion Track surface, Bass said.
“They closed the track right after we got here, so we couldn’t work horses to build business,” the agent remarked Jan. 12. “They were having a lot of trouble with the track and canceling races, and Julien and I decided that, since it was slow and we weren’t riding as many horses as we’d like, we’d go to Fair Grounds and reconnect with some of our Kentucky people.”
Traditionally, 24-year-old Leparoux would have ridden first call for Patrick Biancone’s California string, but the French trainer is sitting out the season on a suspension for a medication violation. The jockey, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice of 2005, built his business in the Midwest and owns multiple riding titles at Keeneland and Churchill Downs.
“We didn’t go out to California for vacation; we went there to ride, and we didn’t want to go through another week or so if the track closed down,” said Bass. “Hopefully, next winter they’ll have the track straightened out and we’ll be back.”
Leparoux will ride at Fair Grounds until the meet ends March 23, and will then return to Keeneland, where racing begins April 4.