08/06/2010 2:42PM

With Talamo out, Rosario odds-on to win title

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Benoit & Associates
Joe Talamo.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Joe Talamo will miss the remainder of the Del Mar meeting after suffering fractured bones in his left wrist in a one-horse spill on Thursday.
He is the second jockey among the top 10 at the meeting to be sidelined by injury for the rest of the meet. Jockey Tyler Baze suffered facial injuries in an incident at the starting gate on July 24, and like Talamo is expected to be sidelined until the start of the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Sept. 29.
The absence of those two talented riders has left defending champion Joel Rosario with a clear lead. Through Thursday, Rosario had 20 wins, eight more than Rafael Bejarano and Talamo. Rosario won the 2009 title with 56 wins, but may not need that many victories to win the title with two leading rivals sidelined.
Talamo was unseated when his mount, Rockstar Ben, broke down severely in the stretch of a starter allowance on turf. Rockstar Ben was euthanized.
Friday, Scotty McClellan, Talamo’s agent, said the jockey was traveling to Los Angeles to get a second opinion on the injury, which is not expected to require surgery.
The fractures “are in a place where they heal by themselves,” McClellan said.
McClellan said that Talamo won’t heal in time to return during the Del Mar meeting, which ends on Sept. 8.
“There is a month left and there is no way we’ll be back in a month,” he said. “There is no reason to press.”
Talamo, 20, was the champion apprentice jockey in 2007. He finished fifth in the standings at Hollywood Park this summer.
Baze, 27, underwent surgery earlier this week to stabilize a fractured bone near his right eye. He had won four races in the first four days of the meeting before being injured
Rosario, 25, was the leading rider at the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting this year. He had one winner on Thursday, Skippy Due in the first race. Saturday, Rosario was scheduled to ride Skipshot in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park. He is booked to ride all nine races at Del Mar on Sunday, including Western Mood in the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes for 2-year-olds.
Between workouts on Thursday morning, Rosario credited part of his success to his work ethic. “I’ve been working hard,” he said. “I’ve got the opportunity and I have to take it. It’s been a good start to the meeting.
“I like to work every morning,” he said. “It’s good to have the horses.”
A native of the Dominican Republic, Rosario has been in high demand. Through Thursday, he had ridden 90 races. Bejarano, who won the 2008 riding title here, had 12 wins from 77 mounts.
Rosario lists Twirling Candy, the winner of the Oceanside Stakes on turf on July 21, as one of his most promising mounts. Twirling Candy is a candidate for the $300,000 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 5.