Q and A with Julien Leparoux

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Thursday, September 9, 2021

Seven-time Breeders' Cup winner and Eclipse Award jockey Julien Leparoux is this week's The Player's Edge guest. He shares his thoughts on French soccer, Lionel Messi, whip rules and a difference between US and European horse racing.

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HRR: Let's start with the fun stuff, it looks like you are a big soccer fan. Which World Cup, Zinedine Zidane's team or Kylian Mbappe's squad and why?

Julien Leparoux: I would pick Zinedine Zidane's team. They were so good and showed so much confidence that as a fan you were confident that they were going to win. I was 15, it was so much fun to watch.

HRR: How excited are you that Lionel Messi is joining Paris Saint-Germain?

Julien Leparoux: I am very excited to have Messi at PSG. I have been a fan of the team since I am a little kid, and to have one of the best (or the best) player in history of soccer is exciting. I hope they can win lots of trophies.

HRR: Ok, on to horse racing. You come from a horse racing family. What are your first memories of horse racing that implanted the thought, I want to be a jockey?

Julien Leparoux: From very early on, my dream was to be a jockey. I remember being 5 years old and riding the couch while watching races on tv.

HRR: You came to the United States as a young man and were one of the most successful apprentice jockeys ever. What advice would you give to aspiring jockeys to help them succeed early in their careers?

Julien Leparoux: My advice from an apprentice rider, is to take their time and learn the most they can before starting to ride races. I was very lucky to have a great teacher like Patrick Biancone, I feel like when I rode my first race, I was ready for it.

HRR: What advice would give as the biggest pitfall that can derail a career before it gets going?

Julien Leparoux: I think you have to surround yourself with good people and keep your head on your shoulders. No matter how much success you have in this business, everything can go away in a second.

HRR: You've described your riding style as finesse. What do you mean by that?

Julien Leparoux: I don't think I have ever said that about myself, lol, but I heard people say that about me and I think it's because I try to adapt my riding style with all the different horses.

HRR: Having ridden all over the world, which counties have the most aggressive and most patient riders and what do you think accounts for the difference?

Julien Leparoux: All over the world, you have great jockeys with different styles... in the USA the races are run faster and little more aggressive than in Europe.

HRR: Horse racing's popularity appears to be on the upswing, we see handles and purses rising across the country and world at major tracks and attendance figures increasing despite Covid concerns. What do you think are the driving forces behind the increasing numbers?

Julien Leparoux: Covid has been tough on everyone in the world, but I think horse racing have benefit from it in some way. We were lucky to be the only sport that could still keep going and I think people started to watch it more. I believe we have the best sport. There is nothing better than a day at a track.

HRR: How do you think Monmouth's meet has gone with its new whip rules?

Julien Leparoux: I haven't really paid attention at Monmouth meet to be honest. I only watched the big races. I am not a fan of their whip rule.

HRR: Do you feel the lack of the worst-case scenario will lead to more tracks following New Jersey's lead?

Julien Leparoux: Like I said, I am not a fan of the whip rule, so I hope not. I believe that we need a rule that protect the horses, jockeys, owners, gamblers and everybody involve with horse racing really, but I don't think New Jersey whip rule is the answer.

HRR: Speaking of rules, based your experience in the sport of kings, do you feel nationalizing the sport via the Federal Government will have the intended outcome? Why or why not?

Julien Leparoux: Yes, I am for Federal Government, I believe every racetrack in America should have the same rules. It will make it easier for everyone, especially for trainers that runs horses all over the country.     

HRR: Finally, you are a proud father now, is there going to be a third generation Leparoux riding for fans to cheer?

Julien Leparoux: It's too early to tell if my kids will follow my footstep. If that's what they want to do, I will be more than happy to help them.


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