Shawn's Silks - Featuring Jockey Gerard Melancon

Horse Racing Radar
Shawn Drupp
Shawn Drupp is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Saturday, May 15, 2021

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 special mount."

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."

Gerard Melancon 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.

Source: Equibase