08/05/2010 9:31PM

Jockey power shift: Talamo, Baze sidelined


The young guys in the Del Mar jockey colony are getting beat up this summer.

First it was Tyler Baze, injured at the starting gate July 24 and out for the meet.

Next it was Joe Talamo. He sustained a fractured wrist in a spill Thursday and is out for the meet.

Both jockeys were on a roll. Baze, 27, was the third-leading rider during the spring-summer meet at Hollywood.

Talamo, 20, is second in the Del Mar standings and the meet’s leading grass rider with six wins.

With both guys out, who will step up? Which jockeys will fill the Baze-Talamo void?

Joel Rosario has pulled clear. He entered the weekend eight wins in front, and is on his way to a second consecutive Del Mar riding title.

Rafael Bejarano has yet to find his rhythm. It was not his fault Cost of Freedom jumped in the air at the start of the Bing Crosby last weekend, but it never helps business when an odds-on favorite loses a Grade 1 due to bad luck.

Victor Espinoza has won four stakes; his business will increase with Baze and Talamo out. David Flores is re-emerging. Martin Garcia will get going as soon as trainer Bob Baffert gets going.

Meanwhile, two veteran jockeys that were considered fringe players when the meet began are now potential prime players – Corey Nakatani, 39, and Pat Valenzuela, 47.

Nakatani returned from Kentucky. Valenzuela returned from Louisiana. Both returned from obscurity.

Nakatani has a reputation as a hothead, but his riding ability is never a question. And few jockeys are better on grass than Nakatani.

Valenzuela has been known to go AWOL due to personal issues. And at this stage of his career, some considered his return to California a freak show. It is not.

In fact, Valenzuela is riding well and working hard. He still puts his mounts into the race. He allows them to use their natural speed. Nakatani also is riding well.

Baze and Talamo are not riding at all.

As the third weekend of the summer meet begins, Nakatani and Valenzuela have re-emerged.

Their impact on the Southern California jockey colony will be felt. The degree of significance is strictly up to them.