Joe Talamo, a 22-year-old native of Marrero, Louisiana, notched his
1,000th career victory on Thursday at Santa Anita, winning the fourth
race aboard heavily favored Splendid Fortune, who is conditioned by Hall
of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and is owned by her breeder, Arnold
Zetcher. Making her second career start, Splendid Fortune was off at
odds of 2-5 and won by 7 ¼ lengths.
“That was fun. It’s nice to get it out of the way early,” said Talamo.
“My mom was the one who gave me permission to ride at a young
age but I had to tow the line,” said Talamo in an interview with HRTV’s
Kurt Hoover. “It was ‘Yes ma’am, no ma’am,’ or I got a whipping. I
really have to give all the credit to my parents for letting me start at
such a young age to do what I wanted to do, and it paid off. I left
school when I was in the 10th grade and they’ve always supported me.”
Talamo jokingly acknowledged that his original plan was to only
ride temporarily in Southern California five years ago, “but the
weather’s so good out here I decided to stay.”
Currently fourth in the Santa Anita jockey standings with 39
wins, Talamo has clearly established himself as one of the premier young
riders in the country.
“He never says ‘no,’” said Scott McClellan, his agent for the
past five years. “He’ll work any horse I ask him to, anytime and
anywhere. He’s got a great work ethic and a great sense of humor. He’s
fun to be around and always kidding. He’s really a pleasure to work
“Leaving home at age 16 and then coming out here like he did, he
must’ve had a great upbringing. His parents did a great job with him.”
McClellan also pointed out Talamo’s willingness to avail himself
to all kinds of media. “He’s a great ambassador for the game. He’s
always sending out stuff on Twitter or FaceBook or email. He’s always
there for the press.”
Two of Talamo’s biggest career wins have come in prestigious
Kentucky Derby preps. He won the 2009 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct with I
Want Revenge and the 2010 Santa Anita Derby with Sidney’s Candy.
Talamo has been named to ride longshot Blueskiesnrainbows in
this Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby. A Virginia-bred colt by English
Channel, Blueskienrainbows is trained by Baffert and is 20-1 on the
Derby morning line.