Diego Saenz

Diego Saenz

Courtesy of Evangeline Downs

Saenz Repeats as Evangeline Leading Rider

Saenz found winner's circle 98 times, and his mounts earned $1.65 million-plus.

Diego Saenz, a 33-year-old Mexico native, chalked up his second consecutive rider title and the fourth in the past four years at Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino at the recently concluded 84-night spring/summer meet.

Saenz put together a strong final half of the season to win the title over runner-up Colby Hernandez and Gerard Melancon. He landed in the winner’s circle 98 times from 508 mounts, and his mounts earned more than $1.65 million, a solid increase from his 2011 totals of 84 wins and nearly $1.44 million in purse earnings. Hernandez tallied 87 victories and earnings of more than $1.487 million, with Melancon recording 83 wins and earnings of more than $1.39 million.

In the race for the trainer’s title, Karl Broberg put on a strong second half of the season to catch and pass Keith Bourgeois and Sam Breaux. It was the second consecutive training title in Cajun Country for Broberg, who has been training for less than four years. Sending out winners at an impressive 26% rate, Broberg hit the winner’s circle 51 times from 194 starters, and his runners earned more than $743,000. Bourgeois and Breaux, who finished one-two in the standings for four consecutive seasons before the emergence of Broberg, hit the winner's circle 46 and 43 times, respectively.

Heavy On Themister, trained by Shawn David, captured the Evangeline Mile Handicap and set a track record in a six-furlong allowance event en route to being named Horse of the Meet. The Louisiana-bred son of Lion Tamer earned more than $120,000 for his owners Rebecca Farms and T. J. Dickey.