01/31/2013 9:37AM

Delta Downs: Melancon wins 4,000th race


Jockey Gerard Melancon won the 4,000th Thoroughbred race of his career Wednesday night at Delta Downs in Vinton, La., when he guided Doc R U It to victory in the sixth race. He became the 65th rider in North America to reach 4,000 wins, according to a release from Delta.

Melancon, 45, is a Louisiana native who won the first race of his career at Delta, on Feb. 9, 1984. Highlights of his career include winning the Grade 1 Vosburgh in 2002 with Bonapaw; the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby in 2004 with Fantasticat; and the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot in 2011 with Sabercat.

“I’ve had a very blessed career,” said Melancon. “Reaching 4,000 wins is special to me. All my family and friends came out to the track tonight and I thank them for their support over the years.”

Melancon has won two riding titles at Delta, and during the track’s 2007-2008 meet he set a season record for wins by a jockey, with 146, and earnings for a rider, with $2.8 million. Overall, Melancon has ridden more than 26,780 races, and has career mount earnings of $63.7 million.