05/26/2009 11:00PM

Mouton barn as hot as they get

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BOSSIER CITY, La. - Trainer Pat Mouton had been conspicuously quiet the first few days of the 2009 meeting at Louisiana Downs, but all that changed with a bang last Saturday. Beginning with the afternoon's third race, Mouton sent out the winner in four consecutive races, a feat that has rarely been equaled in the 36-year history of the track.

"We thought we might have a pretty good day," said the usually reserved Mouton. "But winning four in a row is something."

One of the winners, Tiger Eyed, made news last August when the filly, then 2, surprisingly foaled a filly while stabled at Louisiana Downs. Tiger Eyed, who was unraced at the time, would go on to launch her career in January at Fair Grounds. She won a $25,000 maiden claimer by more than seven lengths last Saturday.

Perennially in the top five in the trainer standings in recent years, Mouton may be ready to break through and win his first local training title.

"We have 65 head in training," Mouton said. "We have 50 stalls here on the grounds, and the rest are next door at the training center."

Mouton is especially excited about his crop of 2-year-olds this season.

"It's still a little early, but I think I've got as good a group as I can remember. We bought some real nice babies last year, and some of my owners have bred some good young horses."

Three of Mouton's wins last Saturday came with brother-in-law E.J. Perrodin in the saddle. Perrodin says he is ready to get on a roll himself.

"I could have had a better Fair Grounds meeting," the 52-year-old veteran said. "I won a few races, so it wasn't bad, it was just that things were not really clicking."

The fact that Perrodin is riding at all is considered remarkable by many after he suffered a career-threatening injury early in the 2007 Fair Grounds season. A first-time starter trained by Mouton reared and fell on Perrodin, crushing his pelvis and lacerating his liver.

"I feel good and also blessed," he said. "You see so many riders that don't come back. I think the fact that my wife and all the people around me stayed positive through the recovery process made all the difference."

Another motivating factor in Perrodin's return to the saddle was his goal of winning 3,000 career races. Now that that milestone has been reached, Perrodin says his next goal is much less specific.

"I want to ride another year, another two years, as long as it continues be fun," he said. "When it is time to quit, I want to be able to look back and thank the good Lord and appreciate all that I have accomplished."

- additional reporting by Mary Rampellini