04/24/2007 11:00PM

Melancon celebrates 3,000th win

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The congratulatory photo following Gerard Melancon's 3,000th win last Thursday night drew an overflow cast of Melancon's fellow riders, who are at Evangeline to take advantage of the big fields at this meet. With 14 horse fields common, the rider fraternity is both large and deep.

Multiple wins on a card have been rare here this season, which made Melancon's double last Thursday just that much sweeter. Needing two wins to reach the milestone, the 39-year-old native of nearby Rayne, La., captured the second race of the evening, so the 3,000-win watch was on.

"After I won the second race, I called my wife and told her to hurry up and bring the boys because I thought tonight was going to be the night," Melancon said after reaching the milestone with Switch Grass Gas in the ninth race of the night.

In addition to his riding peers, Melancon was joined in the winner's circle by his wife, Annette, and sons Jansen and Jonas, the primary reason the four-time riding champ is remaining here this summer instead of moving his tack to Louisiana Downs where he has won multiple riding titles.