04/06/2012 3:21PM

Santa Anita: Talamo reaches one goal, still searching for Derby mount

Benoit & Associates
Joe Talamo says he is relieved to have gotten his 1,000th career victory Thursday at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Joe Talamo did not have to wait long for the 1,000th win of his career on Thursday.

Last Sunday, he won three races to reach 999 wins. With no racing from Monday through Wednesday, Talamo had four chances on Thursday.

After finishing third in Thursday’s third race with Lady Fairbanks, Talamo, 22, hit the milestone with an easy win aboard Splendid Fortune in the fourth race. The victory came five years and nine months after Talamo won his first race at Louisiana Downs in the summer of 2006.

“I’m glad it’s out of the way,” Talamo said, leaving the winner’s circle.

Talamo had one more winner on Thursday – Let’s Go Cheyenne in the seventh race – but is missing one element this spring that all jockeys seek, a mount in the Kentucky Derby. He was booked to ride the outsider Blueskiesnrainbows in Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby but is not scheduled to travel to the major Triple Crown preps next weekend at Keeneland or Oaklawn Park.

Thursday, Talamo said he had not given up hope of picking up a Kentucky Derby ride in coming weeks.

“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “Anything can happen.”

Talamo’s double on Thursday has left him ranked fourth in the standings at the current Santa Anita meeting with 40 wins. He trails leader Joel Rosario (77), Rafael Bejarano (63), and Eswan Flores (45). It is possible that Talamo can catch Flores before the meeting ends on April 22.

More rides on fillies such as Splendid Fortune would make that easier.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Splendid Fortune won a maiden race for 3-year-old fillies by 7 1/4 lengths in her second career start. Owned by Arnold Zetcher, Splendid Fortune ran six furlongs in 1:09.02.

Talamo said the win was as easy as it looked.

“I just had to hang on to the wire,” Talamo said. “She’s a really nice filly. She didn’t need the lead, either. She powered away from them.”

Baffert said that Splendid Fortune “has really turned the corner” in recent weeks. “It took a while for her to come around,” he said.