Jockey Gerard Melancon is just 9 wins from
milestone victory 5,000 as of May 14, 2021. He began his riding career at the
age of 16 on February 2, 1984, at Delta Downs. He won his first career race one
week later at Delta Downs on February 9, 1984, on only his third career mount.
He was aboard a horse named Dash and Cash who won 7 of 38 career races. It
turned out to be fitting for a guy who earned the nickname G-money for cash to
be in the name of his first winning horse. He's been a mainstay in the
Louisiana riding circuit ever since.
Gerard, who turned
54 on Monday, May 10th, has ridden for 37 straight years. His lowest
total of mounts came in 1988 when he only had 325 starts and his highest coming
in 2003 when he had 1,409 starts. His win total per year ranges from his low 26
in 1988 to his career best total in a year 249 in 2002. Over those 37 years he
is winning at 16% and in the money 43% of the time. His mounts earned over 87
million dollars in purse money.
I caught up with Gerard to discuss some of his
career. On why Gerard has been so successful he explained "I'm so
successful because of my great wife and my long relationship with my agent and
friend Louis Coco. I asked him "What win so far has meant the most to
you?" Gerard exclaimed "I'd say my happiest win was the Super Derby
on Fantasticat! It was always my dream to win that race and of course the two 1
million dollar Delta Jackpots!"
I then proceeded to ask him "Who was your
all time favorite horse to ride?" Gerard said "Bonapaw was my all
time favorite to ride. I won 10 stakes on him and he will always be my most
His longevity got me to
wondering about his career injuries.
Gerard explained "Worst injury was I broke my arm in 3 places so I
had a plate and 11 screws in it. I've broken all my ribs in different spills.
Six once, ten once, and two and three a couple of times. I broke my pelvis,
both collarbones. I broke my foot and had 7 pins in it. I broke my shoulder
blade and my hand. I believe that's about it."
Now that all of
our bodies are hurting thinking of all those injuries, again I tell you jockeys
are some of the toughest athletes around. I asked Gerard what will win number
5,000 mean to him? "5,000 wins
would be special! Nothing spectacular about it except that's a lot of wins and
I guess it's kind of cool getting the publicity to show my grandkids one day."
would become the 37th North American jockey to win 5,000 races. The
next closest active jockeys to joining the list are Scott Spieth who has 4,886
career victories and Corey Lanerie who is at 4,812 wins. HRR congratulates
Gerard on his great career and thanks him for his time.