My short bio: I am riding the favorite, Classic Empire, in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 6, at Churchill Downs. Since starting my riding career in 2005 after coming to the U.S. from France, I have won more than 2,300 races and $139-million in purses but never the Kentucky Derby. I will answer questions at noon ET (9a PT) on Tuesday, May 2!

My Proof:

Comments: 102 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

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@kajnbagoat: Tepin is my favorite horse, and I grew up around horses since I was a little kid. My dad was an assistant trainer. -JL

Which was your favourite horse?

What made you get interested in racing?

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@Runs_n_goses: A little bit, but not too too much. Not in a race. Florent Geroux and I like to mess with each other but not anyone else. It's a friendly rivalry. -JL

How much trash talking is there in the jockey lounge area before races? Also, any trash talking happen during the race?

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PinchBetter: Carina Mia is supposed to run her first race back since Breeders' Cup. I'm also in the Kentucky Oaks with Daddy's Lil Darling -JL

Other than Classic Empire in the Derby, who else are you excited about riding this weekend?

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Tiordalol: You're part of a team, and everyone on the team wants Classic Empire to be 100% for the race. Accidents happen. Anything can happen between now and when we get in the gate -JL

how do you balance the excitement of having a known Kentucky Derby mount but also know something unfortunate could happen at any moment leaving you without a ride in America's most historic race?

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@axg12: They are treated very good. They are treated like big-name athletes. 24/7 they have someone taking care of them. That's everywhere. All the time someone is taking care of the horses -JL

Are the horses treated well? I've heard many mixed things about the way that race horses are treated

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From yesterday: "I ride since I'm 6, currently 19. I've never had a scary experience with horses, but I'm so afraid of speed that I don't ride horses that aren't "safe". It's really difficult for me to have trust in a horse, and obviously it shouldn't. Have you got any advice on how to manage speed when something bad happens, or when the horse is scared?"

The main thing is to trust your horse and have faith in him, and you'll lose the fear naturally. Trust your horse to gain his trust. -JL

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Ruddiver: It's more about how the horse will perform that day. Now I have more experience in the race, so I'm not as nervous as I was earlier in my career. -JL

Do you feel more pressure being the favorite? or is it all about how the horse performs that you worry about?

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mybangbang: Probably the Kentucky Derby; it's the biggest race in America, and I haven't done it yet. It's a goal of mine, and hopefully we can do it this year. -JL

you've always been one of my favorite jockeys! What is a higher achievement for you, winning the breeders cup classic or the Kentucky Derby?

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sixfourthree: We are handicapping to win the race--see what we need to do to beat the favorite. Put the horse in best spot to win the race. -JL

What exactly do jockeys look for when handicapping a race they're about to run in?

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MostlyH20: I've been fortunate to be on a lot of good fillies. Classic Empire we find the perfect exercise rider for him that gets along good. They respect each other, and it's been going good since then. We're a team. -JL

Thanks for doing this! I've always appreciated your thoughtful, kind hand with your mounts- do you think that has been a significant factor in your success with fillies & mares? Similarly, Classic Empire is reputed to be a bit... erm... strong minded. Have you & Casse come up with any unique methods to get him running when you need him to and not just when he wants to?

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PAdogooder: Not really yet but feel like I will when my son is growing up -JL

Julien! You're my favorite jockey and I will often bet a horse just because you're on him- Louisville native here.

Question: do you ever ride horseback in other styles or for fun? Trail riding or jumping?

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EarthBrown: My favorite track is Keeneland. Johnny V -JL

What is your favorite track to ride on. Also, who do you think the best jockey in the country is?

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kocomma: Top 10 jockeys get best opportunities to ride better horses, but it's also the top jockeys make less mistakes on big day racing -JL

What makes the difference between the top jockeys (e.g. top 10 money earners) and the rest? What do you do differently in a race that sets you apart from the others?

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downeastkid: Classic Empire first, State of Honor, and Irish War Cry

What horse would you pick in your trifecta?

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Is there any sort of special padding to protect your privates?

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Only padding is the vest and helmet. That's about only protection we have. I.e., no cup. -JL

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ShamIAmNot: LOL -JL

How much would I have to pay you to, if you win the Derby, dedicate the victory to Adam Hickman during your Winner's Circle interview? I'll start a GoFundMe!

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trumpshemorrhoid: It's less pressure to go with Mark & Norman because I feel like we're a team and we try to work together. -JL

What's it like going to the derby with someone like Norm Casse that you've become such close friends with over the years? Is there more pressure since you guys are friends? Less pressure?

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juggilinjnuggala: I studied to be an accountant, so I guess I'd be doing math -JL

What do you imagine your life would be like if you weren't a jockey?

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iwas99x: Stella Artois -JL

Mr. Leparoux, What is your favorite beer?

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colhurts: There's a lot. There's many horses I wish I rode. American Pharoah, Zenyatta, all the big horses are the ones you want to be on. -JL

Which horse that you didnt get to ride do you really really wish you could've ridden?

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Rualum15: Royal Ascot with Tepin last year. Hopefully we can top that with Classic Empire on Saturday. -JL

What is your favorite horse racing memory?

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amb326: I'm not sure, but he wore them in the Arkansas Derby -JL

Do you know why Classic Empire is now wearing glue on shoes?

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lukexskywalka: No real routine; I just ride races and in the morning ride and on my days off I like to go on walks. Lucky with diet, too. I can eat anything I want. -JL

What does your typical training routine look like? Whether it be on horse, cardio, or weights?

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iwas99x: I really enjoyed Go-Karting but now spend a lot more time with my family and son.

Leparoux,What are your hobbies outside of work?

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poweshow: Yeah, we do group text actually -JL

How close of a relationship do you maintain with Florent, Flavien and any other stateside french jockeys? Just casually close or group text level close?

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moaia66: My passion for it. I group up around horse racing. I always loved it and always wanted to be a jockey. Obviously I'm lucky with my size, too. -JL

Was it your physical attributes that lead you to the sport? A love of riding? A combination of some sort?

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iwas99x: Those are the best ones. After that, any Grade 1 -JL

Mr.Leparoux, outside of the triple crown and breeders' cup, what is the best race and why?

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skibonit: Hopefully not but never say never. I wouldn't mind being like Mike Smith and getting to ride whichever horse I want. -JL

Do you hope to still be riding in your 50's like Stevens & Smith?

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iwas99x: Breakfast usually eggs, ham, piece of toast, coffee -JL

Mr. Leparoux, What is your typical pre race meal and drink?

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iwas99x: I like them. I don't take myself too seriously -JL

Mr. Leparoux, Do you like Jockey jokes or find them offensive?

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iwas99x: I jumped in France but never rode in races -JL

Mr. Leparoux, Have you ever been a jockey in a steeplechase race?