FRENCH JOCKEY FLORENT GEROUX MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME

Arlington’s 2012 season started off smoothly enough for French-born jockey Florent Geroux. It was his fifth summer of riding at the local oval where he had become increasingly familiar to Chicago horsemen and he was coming off a good spring meeting on Chicago’s south side where he had finished third in the Hawthorne standings.

When the first graded stakes of the summer came along May 19 – the 60th running of the Grade III Hanshin Cup – Geroux won it aboard Silverton Hills’ Havelock after getting up in the final strides to edge the favorite by a neck.

“The key for me in that race was to have perfect timing,” said Geroux in the winner’s circle after that race. “The mile (distance of the Hanshin) is about as far as (Havelock) can go so I tried to have good timing to get there.”

However, all that momentum for Geroux suddenly came crashing down when he fell and broke his collarbone during a race at Arlington on June 10. Unfortunately, the 26-year-old jockey born in the historic town of Argentan in France’s Normandy region was unable to return to riding until the end of July.

“That turned out to be a major setback for me because all the horses I was supposed to ride before I got hurt came back and won,” Geroux said. “Until that happened, I was on my way to having a very good summer.”

Nevertheless, the son of the famous French former jockey Dominique Geroux has persevered, and on August 30 he swept both ends of Arlington’s Daily Double, winning the opener astride the Tammy Domenosky-trained She’s An Alpha Gam, owned by Alan Opiola, Janine Zajeski and Jim Miller, and then coming back to take the second race on Marablue Farm’s Galetoire for Arlington’s leading trainer Wayne Catalano.

It could be that two wins might be just what the doctor ordered to get Geroux’s momentum going again.

With Arlington’s season now in its waning days before it brings down the curtain on September 30, Geroux will be hard-pressed to match the 27 wins he rode at Arlington last summer, but he’s got a shot, and as a first-time father with his daughter Olivia Matilde Geroux now almost a year old, he’s back to riding in his best form.

As for Olivia, Geroux says proudly as his eyes light up: “She’s almost walking now.”

A further report on Geroux’s status as a doting father came from the baby’s grandmother Joy Spindler, Arlington’s assistant director of mutuels.

“(Florent) is very hands-on with Olivia,” Spindler says. “He’s with her all the time and actually, she’s probably going to learn to speak French before she speaks English.”


CONDITIONER MIKE REAVIS NARROWLY MISSES TRAINING TRIPLE

Veteran Arlington trainer Mike Reavis was the only locally-based conditioner to saddle two winners August 30, and he narrowly missed getting a hat trick for the afternoon.

Reavis won the seventh race with Joel Meredith and T. C. Stable’s Shellys Wild, came back after the eighth to pose in the winner’s circle with Braulio Contreras’s Kitchen Boss, and then finished second beaten a length and a half in the finale with Frank Mancari’s Free Fighter, who was unable to catch the front-running victor Exchanging Kisses, owned by Richard Glander and trained by Danny Miller.