07/09/2013 2:39PM

Hollywood Park: Talamo tries to hold off Bejarano in race for leading rider

Barbara D. Livingston
Joe Talamo holds a four-win advantage heading into the final week of racing at Betfair Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Jockey Joe Talamo begins the racing week at Betfair Hollywood Park on Thursday with a four-race lead in the jockey standings. He has ridden 50 winners, four more than Rafael Bejarano, the 2012 title holder.

The track’s spring-summer meeting ends Sunday. Talamo knows his lead is not safe.

Both he and Bejarano are capable of having multi-win days that can result in significant changes to the standings. Bejarano, 31, rode five winners June 14 and had four-win days on April 26 and 28. Talamo, 23, had four wins last Saturday and has ridden three winners on the same day four times at the meeting.

“It’s fun and to be in this situation is a good thing,” Talamo said last weekend.

If Talamo wins the title, it will be the first of his career at Hollywood Park, and first overall since the Santa Anita autumn meeting last year. Bejarano was the easy winner of the riding title at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting earlier this year.

At the current meeting, Talamo’s strength has been stakes races. He has won 10 stakes, compared with seven for Bejarano. That aspect of the riding title will be probably be decided by Saturday, a program with four stakes.

“I can’t believe the stakes this year,” Talamo said. “I’m happy with the way things are going. I feel more trainers are giving me an opportunity.”

Part of that can be attributed to the departure of Joel Rosario in June 2012. Rosario and Bejarano fought for riding titles at major meetings in recent years. With Rosario riding in New York, jockeys such as Talamo and Edwin Maldonado, who won the riding title at the Hollywood Park autumn meeting last year and is currently ranked third, have been given more chances.

Talamo knows that Rosario’s absence has helped his position in the standings, but said he is confident he would have contended for the title even with Rosario in Southern California.

“I feel like I could be there [in the standings] if he was here right now,” Talamo said. “If you don’t have the horse, it’s hard to do anything.”

Becky Lou takes shot at Oaks

In Saturday’s $350,000 American Oaks, Bejarano rides Scarlet Strike, who may go favored in the Grade 1 race for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Scarlet Strike was second by a length to Sarach in the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf June 8. Sarach is part of the American Oaks field and likely to set the pace.

Talamo rides Becky Lou, who was a troubled fourth in the Honeymoon Handicap. Ridden in that race by Tyler Baze, Becky Lou raced in traffic in the stretch and was beaten two lengths by Sarach. A Kentucky-bred who began her career in England, Becky Lou won her U.S. debut in a 32-1 upset in an optional claimer at Santa Anita in April.

Owned by Daniel O’Neill, Becky Lou is trained by Matt Chew, who seeks his first Grade 1 win in the American Oaks.

“I’m really pleased with her progress,” Chew said. “I think she’s coming into this race better than her last race. She seems a little bit stronger and bigger.”

The American Oaks field also includes Emollient, who won the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in April; Macha and Wittgenstein, who were third and seventh in the Honeymoon; and Topic, a maiden race winner on turf last month.

Diodoro fined $2,500

Trainer Robertino Diodoro has been fined $2,500 as part of a stipulated agreement with the California Horse Racing Board for a positive test for the Class 4 medications carbazochrome and tranexamic acid found in one his runners at Santa Anita earlier this year.

The positive tests were found in post-race tests taken from Mr. Bossy Pants, who won the second race Feb. 2, a $25,000 claimer for turf sprinters.

Carbazochrome is an anti-hemorrhaging medication. Tranexamix acid is a blood-clotting agent.

Diodoro, 39, was suspended seven days, but that aspect of the penalty was stayed provided that he does not have a similar violation through July 6, 2014.

Melvin Krohn More than 1 year ago
Joe Talamo at 23 years old will dominate west coast racing for many years to come. RB and JR are great riders with more experience than JT but time will tell who the better rider is. How many great riders have come from Louisiana??? Anyone remember Eddie Delahousey on the west coast.
Andrew Young More than 1 year ago
I am a little biased I watched R.B start his NA career at River downs and I always root for him, I think he is still an all around better rider than Talamo. and as far as not being a national rider I think that is by choice, if he came back east plenty of trainers would line up to put him on there horses
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
"SAY IT AIN'T SO JOE" appears to be the future of CA racing ( That's if CA can stop it's self destruction ) It would be nice to see a changing of the guard but J.T. Still has a long way to go to be able to carry Bejarano's Whip. . . . . .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Talamo still has some limitations in his riding ability, but is dependable at times. I certainly enjoy this meet so much more without the presence of Garrett Gomez! Go Go, just GO. Away that is!!
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
what is your reason for disliking Gomez?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't feel Gomez gives always gives his best effort. I don't like him, & I like it better in CA when he not around.
B More than 1 year ago
I've always thought this guy had a big future. Seems to becoming true.
iknownothing114 More than 1 year ago
This kid really believe if the king Rosario were there he would be leading the meet.lol.lol.lol.Rosario stay healthy Saratoga meet belongs to him
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Talamo is certainly confident, if not delusional.
Holybull More than 1 year ago
Go get 'em Joe!
Ricky Williams More than 1 year ago
When the iron is hot Joe strike! Tear em up!
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
Rosario- $12,982,756...Talamo-$5,741,098...Say it ain't so Joe...
kram hslew More than 1 year ago
Followed Joe Talamo from the start, nice kid. When he chirps that Rosario's presence wouldn't make any difference he is letting us all know that intellect is not his strong suit.