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Hard Work Pays Off for Jockey Joe Talamo

Joe Talamo is sitting on a breakthrough achievement. With four racing days left in Santa Anita’s 24-day Autumn Meet, the 22-year-old rider holds a 30-20 lead over runner-up Rafael Bejarano and is on the verge of becoming the first jockey other than Bejarano or Joel Rosario to win a riding title at a Southern California track (other than Fairplex Park) since the 2007  Hollywood Park Fall Meet, when Garrett Gomez did the trick.

“It’s really been a dream meet,” the personable Louisiana native said. “My agent, Scotty McClellan, couldn’t be doing a better job since we hooked up four years ago. He’s just been a dream to work with. I don’t think we’ve ever had an argument.

“He works hard; he’s there (at the track) just about every morning. We’ve really had good meets, in the top three or four all the time. This year, we’re just getting on a lot better horses, thanks to the support of the owners and trainers. I think that’s made a big difference.”

Not to mention the unflappable confidence and enthusiasm that is part of Talamo’s DNA.

“He doesn’t burn any bridges and he’s got a good demeanor and attitude,” McClellan said. “Everybody likes talking to him; he’s always kidding around, except when he’s riding. He’s serious then, but when he’s finished, his personality shines through. He’s a great kid.”

Added Bob Baffert, who has Talamo on his “A” list of go-to riders along with Rafael Bejarano and Martin Garcia: “Joe was a future star of the jockey colony when he came here.

“He has natural ability and horses run for him. That’s the number one thing, that horses run for him. Not all jockeys fit every horse, and if Joe fits a certain horse, I’ll put him on.”


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