04/18/2007 12:00AM

Evangeline Downs: Melancon nears milestone


Jockey Gerard Melancon is approaching 3,000 victories. A native of Rayne, La., Melancon is a four-time leading rider at Evangeline Downs and had 2,997 wins heading into this week's racing.

Melancon is riding regularly at Evangeline this season after spending the last several summers in northern Louisiana at Louisiana Downs, where he won back-to-back titles in 2002-03. Melancon has won seven races at the current stand and is tied with Marlon St. Julien for the second spot in the standings, one behind leader Curt Bourque.

While trainer Steve Asmussen has not had anything close to the day he had at Oaklawn last Saturday, when he won five races, including the Arkansas Derby with Curlin, he has won with 4 of his 12 starters here the first two weeks of the meet. He is tied with Marvin Davis, who is also off to a hot start to the meeting, atop the early-season trainer standings.