01/06/2010 12:00AM

Delta duo's hot streak continues


Jockey Diego Saenz and trainer Keith Bourgeois have not only dominated their divisions this meet at Delta Downs, but both Louisiana-based men are coming off career years in which they made a significant dent in the national standings. Saenz was the ninth-winningest jockey in North America in 2009 with 249 victories, while Bourgeois was the 10th-leading trainer by wins, with 192.

"I look back and see the year, and it was probably the best year I've had," said Bourgeois, whose stable is split between Delta and the Evangeline Downs Training Center in Lafayette.

Bourgeois's win total last year, as well as his stable's earnings of $3,524,023, were both career highs. The numbers were up sharply over a 2008 season in which the barn won 167 races and $2,777,984 in purses. There were a couple of factors driving the upswing.

"One reason is I think we made better claims at the Fair Grounds last meet," Bourgeois said. "I think some of the horses we claimed at Fair Grounds, when we got to Evangeline they kind of stepped it up, and also at Delta.

"I think we just made some better claims. I'm pretty much the same numbers-wise. I keep anywhere from 115 to 120 [horses]. I think that's around what we had in [2008]."

Bourgeois, a 47-year-old native of Church Point, La., is a multiple title winner at Delta. He leads the current standings with 36 wins, 15 more than second-leading trainer Sam Breaux. Bourgeois's stable has earned $649,570 so far this season at Delta.

Saenz has a 37-win lead in the Delta standings, where he has won 77 races and $1.7 million in purses since the meet began in October. He had his best year last year in both wins and mount earnings, which were $4,852,301. Saenz won his first North American race in 2004 at Retama Park.