09/07/2012 4:23PM

Louisiana Downs: Talamo looks forward to homecoming

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Benoit & Associates
Joe Talamo poses for photos with Include Me Out owner Samantha Siegel after winning the Clement L. Hirsch.

BOSSIER CITY, La. – Jockey Joe Talamo was traveling to Louisiana Downs on Friday to spend some time catching up with old friends before he was to ride favorite Blueskiesnrainbows in the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby on Saturday.

Talamo, 22, launched his career at Louisiana Downs and rode his first winner here, on July 9, 2006. He has since become one of Southern California’s top jockeys, and after closing out a stellar meet at Del Mar on Wednesday he flew to his home in New Orleans on Thursday. Talamo said he was looking forward to his time this weekend at Louisiana Downs.

“For my career, that’s where it all started,” he said Thursday. “I haven’t been to Louisiana Downs since I started as a bug boy. I can’t wait to get up there and see everyone.”

It has been a whirlwind summer for Talamo, who won 12 stakes this meet at Del Mar to tie a track record that was broken by Rafael Bejarano. Talamo had 36 stakes mounts and went 5 for 16 in graded races for total stakes mounts earnings of $1.3 million. Talamo said he typically comes back home to New Orleans after Del Mar and spends a week or so in Louisiana, but this year he will be sticking around through about Sept. 17.

“My sister’s getting married,” he said. “I’m going to be home, get rejuvenated after a long [push]. I’m going to do a lot of eating and fishing and everything in between.”

Talamo is a career winner of 1,110 races from 7,473 starts while his mounts have earned $52 million.

Eramia to ride at Keeneland

Jockey Richard Eramia, who had a 35-win lead in the Louisiana Downs standings entering the card Friday, said he will head to Keeneland following the meet. Eramia will be riding there for the first time when the fall season opens Oct. 5.

“We wanted to try something different, test it out,” said Eramia, who will continue to be represented by agent Rick Mocklin.

Eramia will ride through the close of Keeneland on Oct. 27, then on Nov. 3 will be at Santa Anita for his first Breeders’ Cup mount. Eramia is the regular rider on Gantry, who is being pointed to the Grade 1, $1.5 million BC Sprint. Eramia will then settle in for his regular winter base of Fair Grounds.

Eramia, 33, is a five-time title winner in his native Uruguay and won his 1,000th race in North America on Aug. 31. His first win in the United States came on Feb. 22, 2005, at Calder. Eramia had won 114 races at Louisiana Downs through Thursday and also led all riders here in mount earnings with $1,575,221. He won the local title in 2011.

Stall plans Oaklawn division

Trainer Al Stall Jr. plans to request stalls for the Oaklawn Park meet that opens in January. He said he would like to have a 10- to 12-horse division at the Hot Springs, Ark. track. Stall will continue to have a large division of horses at his traditional winter base of Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

“We’ve had more horses the last couple of years and I feel it would balance the stable a little more, split up some of the maidens,” he said Friday.

Trainer Larry Robideaux, who last had a division of horses at Oaklawn in the 1990s, said he is considering applying for some stalls for the Hot Springs meet. Robideaux, 79, said he is 20 wins from career victory 2,000.

Stakes winners meet in feature

The stakes winners Foreign Girl and Warrior Maid meet in the featured third race Sunday at Louisiana Downs. Foreign Girl has more natural speed than most of her rivals, and that could give her a tactical advantage. She comes off a seventh-place finish to closer Warrior Maid in the $60,000 Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

“She had a bad trip,” said Patrick Mouton, who trains Foreign Girl. “She got away a step slow, was pinned behind a wall of horses, and never had a shot to run. It’s a throw-out race.”

Don Simington has the mount from post 4.

Warrior Maid will break from post 6 and figures to bid late under Eramia.

“It will set up the way it sets up,” said trainer Eric Heitzmann. “We’re not going to try to change her running style. She’s settling really nicely now.”

Heitzmann said Warrior Maid, a multiple stakes winner of $425,329, could retire in February.

“This is probably her last season,” he said. “We’d like to maybe race her through [Premiere] Night at Delta Downs.”

◗ The decision on whether Oaklawn Handicap winner Alternation will target the Jockey Club Gold Cup or Hawthorne Gold Cup will come later this month in Kentucky when trainer Donnie Von Hemel meets with owner Pin Oak Stable. “At the sale next week, we’ll sit down and figure it out, discuss both races and the pros and cons,” Von Hemel said Friday.

◗ Dee Notional, a 5 1/2-length maiden special weight route winner Thursday at Louisiana Downs, is being pointed for the $200,000 Jean Lafitte at Delta Downs on Oct. 20, said his trainer, Jorge Lara.