Joe Talamo hopes hard work pays off when he rides Omega Star in
Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes.
The 23-year-old jockey will be aboard the California-bred son of Candy
Ride for the first time in a race when he tackles heavyweights Flashback
and Goldencents in the Grade II test for 3-year-olds at a mile and a
sixteenth, Santa Anita’s last major stepping stone to the Grade I,
$750,000 Santa Anita Derby at nine furlongs on April 6.
“I’ve been working him and he’s been working good,” Talamo said
of the gelding trained by John Shirreffs for owners Herman Sarkowsky and
Marty Wygod. “I really didn’t know too much about him before I worked
him, but John’s been putting him two or three lengths behind another
“He said he could get rank in some of his races, like in his last
two, but he’s been very relaxed behind horses when I’ve worked him.
When I ask him, he really explodes and has a nice turn of foot.”
Omega Star was second to another Cal-bred entered in the San
Felipe, Tiz A Star, who rallied from 10th and last under Garrett Gomez
to overtake stretch leader Omega Star and win the California Breeders’
Championship at one mile on Santa Anita’s wet/fast track Jan. 26.
Talamo knows the task won’t be any easier on Saturday.
“It’s a pretty tough race, obviously, with Goldencents and
Flashback, but this race should definitely give us a good read on Omega
Star,” he said. “I’ve watched all his replays and he’s a real nice horse
with a bright future. He’ll get tested Saturday, that’s for sure.”
The San Felipe marks the first time in three career starts that
Omega Star has broken from a post position other than No. 1. He drew the
extreme outside in a field of eight, which Talamo feels is an
advantage, even going long.
“It gives me more options,” he said, “because who knows what
horse is going to go (for the lead)? I think (trainer) Eric Guillot’s
horse (Salutos Amigos) is probably the speed of the race, coming off
(three) sprints, but who knows with Goldencents and Flashback?
“Those two are horses that have been pretty forwardly placed, so I’m excited. It’s going to be a good race.”
The field for the Grade II, $300,000 San Felipe: Carving, 118,
Rafael Bejarano, 15-1; Flashback, 123, Julien Leparoux, 8-5;
Goldencents, 120, Kevin Krigger, 9-5; Kochees, Jose Valdivia Jr.,
118,15-1; Hear the Ghost, Corey Nakatani, 6-1, 118; Tiz A Minister,
Garrett Gomez, 12-1, 118; Salutos Amigos, 118, Martin Garcia, 6-1; and
Omega Star, 118, Joe Talamo, 8-1.