Julien Leparoux, the 2009 Eclipse Award winner as America’s top jockey who has dominated the standings the past four years at Churchill Downs, will be a busy man next weekend with mounts in 12 of the 14 Breeders’ Cup races.
Winner of the 2009 Eclipse Award, Leparoux also earned the Bill Shoemaker Award at Santa Anita last year as top rider in the Breeders’ Cup with three victories. Leparoux has won five Breeders’ Cup races overall, beginning with Nownownow in the Juvenile Turf in 2007 at Monmouth Park.
Leparoux, who has won or shared six riding titles at Churchill Downs since 2006, will partner Informed Decision in the Sentient Jet Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) in her bid to become the first repeat winner of the race.
According to Steve Bass, agent for Leparoux, the rider’s other mounts will be Harlan's Ruby (Juvenile Fillies), Kathmanblu (Juvenile Fillies Turf), It's Tea Time (Ladies’ Classic), Typhoon Slew (Juvenile Turf), Silver Timber (Turf Sprint), Rogue Romance (Juvenile), Cool Coal Man (Dirt Mile), Society's Chairman (Mile), Warrior's Reward (Sprint), Al Khali (Turf) and Fly Down (Classic).
In other Breeders’ Cup news, Filly & Mare Sprint hopeful Double Espresso, owned by Gold Mark Farm, worked the morning of Oct. 28 at Churchill Downs. Double Espresso, who is far down on the preference list for the Filly & Mare Sprint (GI), worked a half-mile in :50 3/5 before the renovation break. The move was the 24th fastest of 35 at the distance. Trainer Tom Amoss said if Double Espresso does not make the Breeders’ Cup field, she would run in the Nov. 6 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II), also at Churchill.
At Keeneland the morning of Oct. 28, Brandon and Marianne Chase’s Here Comes Ben had his final prep for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) by working a half-mile on the Polytrack in :46 3/5. Fractions for the work were :11.40, :23.60, :35.40, and out five furlongs in :58.40 and six furlongs in 1:12.40.
Here Comes Ben has won four consecutive starts and has a 5-3-1-1 record at Churchill Downs including a victory in the Kelly’s Landing overnight stakes in June.
“We wanted to let him just go easy and let him finish up,” said Charlie Lopresti, who trains Here Comes Ben for breeders Brandon and Marianne Chase. “Enrique said he asked him down the lane, and I think the clockers got him the last three-eighths in :35.
“He came back and he wasn’t even blowing. I wouldn’t change places with anybody right now if I can just keep them together until next week.”
The second half of the “them” is Morton Fink’s Wise Dan, who will make his next start for Lopresti in the six-furlong, $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) Nov. 6. The 3-year-old Wiseman's Ferry gelding is coming off a win in Keeneland’s six-furlong Phoenix (gr. III) Oct. 8.
On Oct. 26, Wise Dan, with Jerry O’Dwyer aboard, worked for the final time before the Breeders’ Cup, breezing five furlongs in a bullet :58.00.
Lopresti will ship Here Comes Ben and Wise Dan to Churchill Wednesday, Nov. 3 after training at Keeneland that morning. In the Breeders’ Cup, Rafael Bejarano will ride Wise Dan, and Alex Solis will be aboard Here Comes Ben.
Working on the turf at Keeneland was Sullimar Stables’ Get Stormy , who worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 for trainer Tom Bush in preparation for the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT). Splits were :25, :49.20, and out six furlongs in 1:14 1/5. Get Stormy is 1-for-1 over the Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill, having scored in the Commonwealth Turf (gr. IIIT) last fall.