Geroux, Houghton Named for New Awards

Posted Jan. 15, 2016

The Jockeys’ Guild and announced today that Florent Geroux won The Most Improved Rider Award and T. D. Houghton was named The Comeback Rider of The Year. It was the inaugural year for both awards.

Geroux gave the voting panel of experts an impressive set of statistics to consider in their decision. The 29 year old native of France improved upon his ranking as the 62nd leading rider in wins in 2014 with 143 victories to a total of 175 wins in 2015, moving him up to 32nd place. He made greater strides in total earnings this past year, earning $10,233,677 in purses, an increase of $4,407,646 over his 2014 mark.

The majority of that increase came from his impressive stakes earnings in 2015. Geroux won a total of 27 stakes including the Arlington Million, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, and the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The native of France was exceptional on the turf all season, winning some of the year’s biggest races on the grass and capturing the riding title at the short but lucrative all-grass meeting at Kentucky Downs by a wide margin.

“It’s an honor to win this award,” said Geroux. “I really want to thank all the owners and trainers who gave me an opportunity to ride this season, not to mention the exceptional horses that ran so well for me. They were the ones that made this possible and made for such an exceptional year. My agent, Doug Bredar, and I worked hard all year and now looking back after the big wins and awards like this it seems like the hard work clearly paid off.”

The second of the two new honors was for The Comeback Rider of The Year for the 2015, and T.D. Houghton, and voters decided he achieved the most success last year while overcoming a previous injury, hardship or personal setback.

In March 2014, Houghton suffered multiple breaks in his collarbone and a T9 fracture to his vertebra in a fall at Mountaineer Park. He returned to the saddle in the summer to ride at Hazel Park then suffered severe injuries following a spill at Mountaineer again in October 2014. Houghton went on to take riding titles at both Mountaineer and Mahoning Valley Racecourse in 2015. The veteran won 258 races and his mounts earned $3,470,309 in 2015. That was a great improvement over his 2014 totals of 67 wins for $866,604 in earnings.

Houghton was quick to thank both his agent, Tim Freking, and trainer Robert Gorham for their help. “I really owe Bob for talking me into coming to the new Mahoning Valley course in Ohio. I had maybe planned on going to Charles Town as soon as I got back riding, but Bob said he had some nice horses for us to ride in Ohio, so we did. We got off to a great start and have done well there ever since.”

Houghton rode at both Mountaineer and Mahoning Valley early in the year winning the riding title at Mountaineer in the spring and just missing the first ever riding title at new Mahoning Valley. He would take that title later in the year at the Mahoning Valley Winter meeting.
The honorees were determined by a vote of representatives from America’s Best Racing, Daily Racing Form, Equibase, The Jockeys’ Guild, Thoroughbred Daily News, The Paulick Report, NTRA, NTWAB, Thoroughbred Racing Associations and the Turf Publicists of America.

The awards are scheduled to be presented on Feb. 16 by The Jockeys’ Guild and, a website devoted to jockeys and their craft, at the Jockeys’ Guild Award Banquet during the Guild Assembly at Gulfstream Park.