Jockey Julien Leparoux as the winner of the 2022 Mike Venezia Memorial Award, NYRA announced Friday. He was chosen by a committee comprised of members of the Venezia family, representatives of The Jockeys' Guild and retired Eclipse Award-winning jockey Richard Migliore. Leparoux will be recognized in a winner's circle ceremony at Saratoga Aug. 12.
The Mike Venezia Memorial Award is presented annually to a jockey who displays the extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship that personified Venezia, who died as the result of injuries suffered in a spill in 1988. Venezia, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., won more than 2,300 races during his 25-year career.
“The Venezia Award is a unique honor because it's about so much more than simply winning races on the track,” said Leparoux. “I am humbled and thankful to be selected as this year's winner and look forward to thanking the Venezia family here at Saratoga Race Course on August 12.”
“Julien is richly deserving of this honor as a great professional both on and off the track,” said Terry Meyocks, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Jockeys' Guild. “For years, he has represented our sport with distinction. We welcome him to the ranks of distinguished riders who have previously won the Venezia Award.”
During his career, Leparoux has amassed 2,880 wins and more than $183 million in earnings. Those victories include seven Breeders' Cup races, among them the 2015 GI Breeders' Cup Mile aboard champion and newly inducted Hall of Famer Tepin (Bernstein). At the 2009 Breeders' Cup, Leparoux won the Shoemaker Award as the winningest jockey with three wins.
Previous Venezia Award winners include Bill Shoemaker, Angel Cordero, Jr., Jerry Bailey, Mike Smith, Gary Stevens, Richard Migliore, Patti Cooksey, Edgar Prado, Ramon Dominguez, Joe Bravo, Javier Castellano and DeShawn Parker.