LOUISVILLE, Ky. — No matter what happens the rest of Florent Geroux’s career as a jockey, he will always go down in history as a Kentucky Derby winner. 

He just doesn’t feel like one.

“The goal is to cross the wire first,” Geroux said. “If you don’t win, there’s no meaning.” 

Geroux, a 35-year-old Frenchman who has become one of America’s leading riders, was aboard Mandaloun last year when he came up about a neck short of Medina Spirit after a battle through the Churchill Downs stretch. 

Eight days later, the announcement came down that Medina Spirit had tested positive for betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory that is banned on race day. That kicked off a nine-month legal back-and-forth where the final result of the race was somewhat in limbo. On Feb. 21, Medina Spirit was officially disqualified and Mandaloun elevated as the 147th Derby winner. 

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Though the traditional plaque commemorating a Derby triumph now adorns the barn of Louisville-based trainer Brad Cox, there wasn’t much to celebrate. That will change if he can win it in a more traditional fashion Saturday with any of his three entries: the Geroux-piloted Cyberknife, Zozos or Tawny Port. 

“It’s not like winning the Derby, but we’ll take it,” Cox said. “Obviously the biggest thing with the Derby is the thrill of victory and we didn’t experience that. Looking forward to trying to win another one for sure.”

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