By Nicholas Godfrey
USA: Yet another leading US-based rider has tested positive for coronavirus in the shape of Florent Geroux, bringing to seven the number of riders to have reported a positive test since the beginning of July.
French-born Geroux joins follow riders Luis Saez, Victor Espinoza, Martin Garcia, Flavien Prat, Eduard Rojas Fernandez and Gerard Melancon in having to undergo a mandatory quarantine period.
Like most of the others, 33-year-old Geroux has been jetting around the country for rides. Last week he rode at Indiana Grand before riding at Keeneland’s abbreviated five-day meet in Kentucky – plus a quick Saturday trip up to Belmont Park in New York, where he partnered champion racemare Monomoy Girl to win the G2 Ruffian.
Geroux, who has ridden more than 1,500 winners in the States, is best known as the rider of five-time G1 winner Gun Runner, whose Horse of the Year campaign in 2017 culminated in victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic before his Pegasus World Cup win in January 2018.
Geroux confirmed on his Twitter account that he had tested positive for coronavirus, saying: “I’m currently feeling well, quarantined, and looking forward to rejoining the racetrack when I’m cleared. Thank you everyone for the well wishes.”
Of the riders to test positive in the last few days, both Geroux and Saez rode at last Wednesday’s Indiana Derby meeting at Indiana Grand, while five of the jockeys had ridden at Los Alamitos in southern California the previous weekend.
Melancon is an outlier with no obvious links to the others, though he did move between Louisiana and Texas tracks, and racing at Lone Star Park near Dallas was suspended after a track employee returned a positive test.
With COVID-19 worryingly present among the nation’s riding community, major tracks have introduced additional safety measures in a bid to to halt the spread. Del Mar, for example, plans to test all jockeys and jockeys’ room personnel before its next meeting on Friday.
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