07/10/2007 11:00PM

Young rider inherits winning ways at Delta Downs


Jansen Melancon, the son of veteran rider Gerard Melancon, has been riding for just over a month but has made an impact during the Delta Downs meet for Quarter Horses that closes on Sunday. The young Melancon guided a pair of 20-1 shots to victory at the Vinton, La., track on July 6, then came back with a $26 winner on Sunday.

"The meet's going real good," said Melancon, 19, who has won nine races at Delta.

Jansen Melancon launched his career on May 26. He won with his first mount, Cash to Charlie.

A career in racing seemed like a given for Jansen. Gerard Melancon, 40, has won several titles in Louisiana. And one of the most noted wins of his career came in 2002, when he traveled to Belmont Park and won the Grade 1 Vosburgh with Bonapaw.

"I watched my dad ride for several years," said Jansen Melancon. "He's been my idol for a long time. I started galloping when I was about 15, and as soon as I started galloping, I said I wanted to compete."

Jansen completed high school, then pursued race riding. His career choice is no surprise to his father.

"He's always been an athlete," said Gerard Melancon, who noted that his son also rode bulls in high school. "I'm very proud of him. The horses have been running well for him."

Jansen Melancon's double on July 6 came in the first with Justadancingjewel ($45.60) and the ninth with Lakewood Dasher ($44.40). He said that following the Delta meet he plans to ride during the current Quarter Horse meet at Sam Houston.