08/20/2008 12:00AM

Hernandez, Bourgeois run away with titles


With less than two weeks remaining in this year's season at Evangeline Downs, there is still some unfinished business to attend to, not the least of which is the running of the Opelousas and Lafayette stakes next weekend. The two events will go a long way in determining who is best in the always-popular 2-year-old division here.

Two things that will not have to wait until the final week of racing to be determined are the leading rider and trainer honors.

Colby Hernandez jumped out to a quick lead in the jockey standings in the spring and has never looked back. Hernandez has continued to pad his advantage throughout the meet, and heading into Wednesday night's action he leads Gerard Melancon 111 wins to 63.

Billy Patin has had a highly successful meeting as he continues to make the most of his comeback from a lengthy suspension. The ban stemmed from his use of an electrical device while riding Valhol to a first-place finish in the 1999 Arkansas Derby. Patin is in third place with 53 wins, followed by veteran Kerwin Clark with 50 and Carlos Lozada with 47.

There is even less suspense in the trainer standings, as perennial leader Keith Bourgeois will easily win another title. The veteran trainer once again was very active at the claim box, continually reworking his stable and earning 75 trips to the winner's circle.

National training powerhouse Steve Asmussen has continued his increased participation here in recent seasons and is second in the standings with 35 wins. Asmussen has a large string of horses at the former Evangeline Downs in nearby Lafayette, which he uses as a staging area for his operations in the region.