06/17/2014 3:01PM

For Talamo, Santa Anita meet title within reach

Benoit & Associates
Joe Talamo, pictured with two-time Shoemaker Mile winner Obviously, leads the Santa Anita jockey standings with eight racing days remaining.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Joe Talamo has been in this situation before.

Last July, Talamo approached the final week of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting with a four-win lead in the jockeys’ standings. He was winless in the final four days and was caught by Rafael Bejarano and Edwin Maldonado, who finished in a tie for first. Talamo was third, missing by one win.

There are two weeks left in the Santa Anita spring-summer meeting. Going into Thursday’s program, Talamo has 34 wins, good for a 10-win lead over Tyler Baze and a 12-win advantage over apprentice Drayden Van Dyke.

“We’ve still got two weeks,” Talamo said last weekend.

That’s Talamo’s way of acknowledging that the job is not finished with eight racing days to go. One difference this year is the absence of Bejarano, who injured a shoulder in a spill May 10 and is not expected back until July.

In a sense, Talamo said he wishes Bejarano was in action.

“It’s good when he’s here,” Talamo said. “I think he makes us all better riders. You have to ride a smart race to beat him.”

A riding title at this meeting would be Talamo’s first since the autumn meeting here in 2012. At the winter-spring meeting that ended in April, Talamo was a distant second to Bejarano, 93 wins to 54.

Last Saturday, Talamo had his best day of the year, winning four races, including two Grade 1 races – the Shoemaker Mile with Obviously and the Vanity Stakes with Iotapa. Obviously, who won the 2013 Shoemaker Mile, has become a personal favorite for Talamo and a gelding he hopes can win the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita in November.

“I can’t say enough about that horse,” he said. “He keeps improving. I think that was the best race that he’s run.”

Talamo, 24, could have another big day Sunday. He is booked to ride Story to Tell in the $125,000 Santa Anita Juvenile over 5 1/2 furlongs and Sea Mona in the $125,000 Landaluce Stakes for 2-year-old fillies over 5 1/2 furlongs. He does not have a confirmed mount in Saturday’s $200,000 Summertime Oaks for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles, a race run in past years as the Hollywood Oaks at Hollywood Park.

The subject of missing out on the title at the 2013 Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting is one that Talamo does not avoid.

“It looked like we had it in the bag,” Talamo said. “We rode some good horses. The next day, I was focusing on Del Mar. You have to put that behind you.”

This year, the racing calendar in Southern California is different. After the Santa Anita meeting ends June 29, there are two weeks of daytime Thoroughbred racing at an expanded Los Alamitos facility from July 3-13 before Del Mar opens its summer meeting July 17.

Talamo has worked horses on occasion at Los Alamitos since the track was expanded from five furlongs to a mile last winter. The new layout there has a stretch that is more than a quarter-mile long. Talamo has the goal of being the leading rider there, too.
“I’m excited for that meet,” he said. “I think it will be a rider’s track. You need to have a patient ride.”

Irene Davis More than 1 year ago
Why are people so mean in their comments on here? So negative. ..get a life!
G More than 1 year ago
Joe is a hard working jock and he rides very well. Trainers that he rides for have said many times that he follows directions. People should keep in mind that when a jockey actually follows the trainers diections that alone can cost them a win. Joe has had opportunities with mounts headed to tc races that ran into bad luck. He has a good head and avoiding injury will be riding many years. He won the Fiar Grounds meet his first meet and immediately moved to So. Cal and has been in the top 10 in So Cal since arriving. Joe is currently in the money 49 percent of the time. I will admit I am bias when I see my home state of Louisiaina jockeys riding.
Evan More than 1 year ago
Keep in mind that this kid is 24 years old. If he stays healthy and smart he could be an "old guy, money rider" like Mike Smith or Gary Stevens in year 2040. Think about that. If had a son today, he could be graduated from college and law school and Joe would still be riding. I think he's done alright in the first 20% of his career.
Andrew Connie More than 1 year ago
What are you smoking ? Good colony in SoCa? Joke ! If the Ortiz brothers or L sanz would get mounts out here they would domaint out here. 5&7 horses fields = crapy colony !
Flipper More than 1 year ago
Andrew, What is domaint?
J Vette More than 1 year ago
I agree, these jockeys of today at S.A. couldn't get a mount with the likes of Pincay, Shoe, Mc Carron, etc. Another reason racing has been on the decline, not 1 STAR in So. Cal.
nelsonc More than 1 year ago
its the quality not quantity! thats why west coast horses won whenever they ran on east coast track!
Evan More than 1 year ago
I only wish I could have said this first! I hate east-coast biased people. When west coasters ship across the country and win they yell about a track bias, when they ship over to the west coast they yell about a track bias. My favorite quote on here of all time, was someone accused Santa Anita of purposely speed biasing the track for the 2014 Big Cap so Game on Dude would win....one of the owners of the Santa Anita track also owns Mucho Macho Man...so he fixed his own track so his horse would lose? That's the kind of shifting goal posts we're dealing with. When east coast wins they rub it in our face. When we win they have a conspiracy theory. What can you do...
Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
Whenever? Chrome is 2/3 on west coast, but hardly any others are. In fact horses shipping to NY have a losing record and a 23% in the money on the first start.
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Good luck, Joe. Hope you hold on this year. Then when Del Mar comes around, we can look forward to a battle with Rafael. Unlike most of the posters here, I think the So Cal jockey colony is a good one.
Brian Jhagroo More than 1 year ago
Talamo is a good jockey but you will never see him win on a closer that's on the rail. He would not ride on the inside. Watch him and you will see what I am talking about.
G More than 1 year ago
You must have missed some of his wins, he has ridden quiet a few through on the rail just this meet, that I have seen. When Bejearano is riding, typically no one will try to go by him on the rail because he cutsthem off and they dont even DQ him.
morton erskine More than 1 year ago
We need Pat Val back....What is he doing now? .....Serious replies only !
Evan More than 1 year ago
This is a serious reply: He has been banned from all California tracks. Before that we was getting double-digit odds mounts in the lowest level claiming races, and was overweight in 68% of his mounts. Despite battling substance abuse his whole career, no-call no-showing for his mounts and lying to stewards many times, I am truly shocked at how many wins he had in his career. I've often heard top jockeys like McCarron, Pincay Jr., etc say that he was the most naturally talented rider they ever saw, but also the worst head off the track. He's like the 18 year old pitcher that can throw 110 mph but breaks his hand in drunken bar fights every year, misses 2/3 of his career on the DL and still has HOF numbers and accomplishments. I don't mean to destroy Pat Val, I know he's got his issues but I truly believe he is in the running for most "Under achieving" professional athletes of all time. I put him with Milton Bradley, Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, etc. All super talented people who could have been great if they had half of a head.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Evan, I can't argue with some of your comments. But there is one glaring error when you compare him to some of those other pro athletes. None of those guys ever accomplished anything. P Val actually did. He won some really big races and remember he competed against the best jockey colony of all time in SoCal in the 80s. He not only competed, he was very successful at it. It's too bad he couldn't conquer his demons, otherwise he would've retired as one of the greatest of all time
Hail No More than 1 year ago
@ Walt, Now that is a serious reply :)
Jim Eggers More than 1 year ago
The real story, IMHO is the return to riding of Tyler Baze. Many of the comments on here about him were beyond rude, and yet this young man has put his life back together and is riding as well as he ever did. Unless you are living the life of a sober person, you have no concept of how tough it is to stay away from the pervasive culture of drinking in this country today. I have met Tyler, and cheer for him every time he gets a leg up, and yeah, bet on him too.
grayposse More than 1 year ago
Now that we have the old boys club back!!! Smith usually finishing 3rd with the even money shots, Desormeaux who is great at having his horses lug in during the stretch and Mr. Stevens. We can expect some big pick 6 carryovers. Bring on Del Mar.
Edward Nelson More than 1 year ago
He wins by default. Any good rider in ca is either old and doesn't take a lot of mounts or hurt. No one there to really take it from him
Mark D More than 1 year ago
I love him in claimers...allowance races...and a local stakes race....but he is NOT a big $$$ rider yet. He seems to be scared and loose his aggressiveness in big $$ situations. He is not an elite rider yet.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
you mean other than his 3 BC wins , his wins in the gotham and wood and his 18 grade one wins by age 24..you mean other than that
david m More than 1 year ago
California Flag is one who are the other two?In bc?
Raul Perez More than 1 year ago
I think cali flag is his lone bc winner
Arnold Baxter More than 1 year ago
Rivendale and Bakers Square
Jerry Hoelting More than 1 year ago
Desert Code
Walter More than 1 year ago
Migliore rode Desert Code
tim More than 1 year ago
Migliore, Richard
Walter More than 1 year ago
He has been riding in SoCal for at least 7 years, and the colony has been weak for most of those years, he should have some big wins by now. SoCal is home to many graded races and also has hosted the BC 5 times since Joey has been riding there. He is just a B rider now
Elmer Gantry More than 1 year ago
Until you learn the difference between lose and loose, you got nothing to say about nothing.
tim More than 1 year ago
I don't get why so many people struggle with Loose vs Lose.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Could be there's a lot of Archers round here :-)