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Hollywood Park: Talamo looks to keep momentum going
For the first time in five years, a jockey not named Rafael Bejarano or Joel Rosario has won a riding title at a major Southern California race meeting.
Joe Talamo was the runaway leader at the Santa Anita autumn meeting that ended Sunday, finishing with 37 wins, 15 more than Bejarano.
Rosario, who rides primarily in New York, was not a factor.
For Talamo, 22, the title was his first in Southern California, and first since the 2006-07 Fair Grounds meeting in his first full year of riding.
To celebrate his latest success, Talamo took his parents and friends to the Derby restaurant near Santa Anita on Sunday night.
Monday morning, he was back to riding workouts, the groundwork for a defense of his title at the Betfair Hollywood Park meeting that begins Thursday.
“I’m really looking forward to the next meet,” he said Tuesday.
“Everything is clicking so good.”
Thursday, Talamo has mounts in the final four races of the eight-race program. On Friday afternoon, he has six mounts on an eight-race card.
Talamo is the first rider since Garrett Gomez at the 2007 Hollywood Park fall meeting to win a title other than Bejarano or Rosario at Del Mar, Hollywood Park, or Santa Anita. Gomez, 40, is a rider Talamo looks up to and a veteran who has provided advice at pivotal times for his younger colleague.
“I look up to Gomez as a mentor of mine,” he said. “He’s always critiquing me and giving me advice in a good way. It’s pretty cool to be the next one” after him.
Talamo will compete with riders such as Bejarano, Gomez, and a resurgent Tyler Baze for top mounts in coming weeks at a time when quality rides could be scarce.
“It’s so tough out here,” Talamo said. “Not only are you riding with some of the best jockeys in the world, but the horse population is so small it’s hard to find the best horse. When Rosario left, it opened up a lot of doors.”
The competition alone is a motivator.
“I think it makes it more fun,” he said. “It helps me because you learn so much from riding those guys. I hate losing, and I hate making mistakes, but it helps to learn from them.
To reach the top, Talamo, who is represented by Scotty McClellan, has displayed a dedicated work ethic, often working horses six or seven mornings a week.
“When you work hard at something, it makes the reward more special,” he said. “The work was well worth it.”
Will be rooting for Joe Talamo to have big Hollywood Park Autumn Meet. So I think he'll win the title IMO. Rafael I don't know about him because he hasn't been riding too well as of late but am sure he'll snap out of it. There's no one riding better these past few months than Talamo has. Talamo has come along way since he got started here 5 years ago.
I thought I'd been noticing as of late that Joe's style was beginning to mimick Garrett's a lot. He's chosen an excellent mentor. GoGo is a good guy ... And Joe is the nicest kid you would ever want to meet. Success for him is very well-deserved, botha as a rider and a person. Class, class guy!
I'm rooting for you, Joe! Go get that Hollywood Park title! I know you can do it!!
You have some Great Mentors with Garrett & Mike Smith , The Southern California meets are the toughest in the nation . Keep it going Joe . Pearl River Tommy
CONGRATS and GOOD LUCK in your future meets !!!We love ya and always bet on our FAVE !! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
If he sticks to coke,,meanng soda and not the other coke,, he will be more than fine,,he already is a millionaire
Congratulations on your title, Joe. You have to respect the work ethic and positive attitude this young man demonstrates, and he usually has a pretty insightful analysis after the race. Continued good luck; it's a tough jockey colony.
At 22 yrs. old, his future is wide open. Buona Fortuna, Paesano!
Enjoy the moment Little Joe cause when Rafael decides to get back to business you're back to the also rans for leading rider. Great prospect for a few years down the road yet but for now there isd still a little more talented riders in the room.
He NEVER gives-up, this is what separates him from most of the other Jocks, all the Best Joe...
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