No affront to Thomas Wolfe, but Joe Talamo plans to go home again.
Actually, the 24-year-old rider, second in Santa Anita’s standings with 30 wins, is heading to the Fair Grounds to ride in his native state of Louisiana on Saturday.
Among other stakes mounts, Talamo rides Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia for trainer Jeremiah Englehart in the Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes.
Talamo will be riding at the Fair Grounds for the first time since he won the apprentice title at the New Orleans track seven years ago.
Soon after that, at the behest of the late Bobby Frankel, Talamo came to Southern California where he has enjoyed great success under the sagacious guidance of agent Scotty McClellan.
“This will be my first time back since I was 17,” Talamo said. “It’s amazing. We actually had a few chances to go there a couple years ago, but it didn’t pan out. It’s going to be great seeing my family and friends.
“That’s where it all started for me. When I was seven and eight, my dad (Joe; his family calls its jockey son ‘Joseph’) brought me to the Fair Grounds. It was a dream just to ride there. I never thought I’d be that successful.
"It will be good to go back and see everybody.”
Talamo will have to adjust to the weather. Apparently, so-called global warming hasn’t permeated Bayou Country this winter.
“My dad said it snowed there about two weeks ago, which is unreal,” Talamo said. “It gets cold there, but they never really get ice and snow like that. I just can’t wait to go eat there. They’ve got some first-class restaurants.”