LOUISIANA NATIVE BECOMES THE 37TH NORTH AMERICAN RIDER TO SURPASS THE MARK
OPELOUSAS, LA –Evangeline Downs fans were treated to a historic evening as jockey Gerard Melancon picked up a milestone victory in the final race on Thursday. Melancon’s heavily favored runner, Reposado, led gate-to-wire, as he became the newest member of the 5000-victory club. With countless friends and family in attendance, Melancon was able to celebrate early, even flashing five fingers as he crossed the wire in a 5-3/4 length victory.
The win was made more special as the victor was trained by longtime friend Glen Delahoussaye. Running for owner Charles Carlton, the gelded son of Shackleford, Reposado is out of the Two Punch mare Bronze Abe.
Melancon began his professional riding career at Delta Downs in 1984. His first victory came with his third career mount with Dash and Cash on February 9, 1984. His first victory over the original Evangeline Downs oval, was astride Cajun Lawman on April 7 the same year.
A multiple graded stake winning jockey, he piloted Bonapaw to a Grade I winning score in the 2002 Vosburgh at Belmont Park. Melancon claimed two editions of the $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot, first with Saber Cat in 2011 and then with Rise Up in 2013. His most recent graded-stakes score came in 2019 in the Lukas Classic Stakes at Churchill Downs with Mocito Rojo.
The native of Rayne, LA has ridden in over 31,900 races and his mounts have earned nearly $88 million in purse money. He recently passed Ramon Dominguez on the career wins list and the next rider to catch is Alex Solis with 5,035 wins.
He considers the 2004 Super Derby aboard Fantastic Cat his biggest win. “It was a race I had dreamed about winning, and to do it twenty years into my career was pretty special,” he stated.
Several people have been integral in the storied career of Melancon. “I have to thank my wife, Annette, for all of her support through the years. Manuel Robin was integral in giving me a chance to get started, and my agent Louis Coco has been a great partner for the past 25 years.”
For more information on racing at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website at www.evdracing.com and on Twitter @evdracing. Racing continues on a Wednesday thru Saturday schedule until the end of the meet on September 18.
Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing and fun dining experiences. Evangeline Downs is located in Opelousas, Louisiana, off I-49 on Cresswell Lane at Exit 18.