Talamo Has Breathing Room at Top

Joe Talamo, who has been in a battle with Rafael Bejarano for leading rider at the Betfair Hollywood Park Spring/Summer meet, had a big day Saturday with four victories.

The Louisiana native scored with Gnarly Dude ($5.40) in the third, Cast a Doubt ($3.40) in the fourth, Schiaparelli ($4.20) in the Royal Heroine Mile, and Forever Freedom ($21.00) in the seventh.

Entering the final five days of the season, Talamo leads defending Spring/Summer champion Bejarano 49-45.

Gnarly Dude’s victory was his third of the meet, tying the gelding for most wins with Et Tu Walker and Unusual Hottie.  The gelding was denied a chance for a fourth victory May 19 when he lost his rider at the start.  Gnarly Dude was claimed from trainer Kristin Mulhall by John Sadler for $32,000 in a four-way shake.

Mike Puype’s victory with Schiaparelli in the Royal Heroine enabled him to stay within hailing distance in the trainer’s race. John Sadler continues to hold a four-win advantage, 25-21.


When it was announced that Kristine Leahy would call a race on the final Friday night card at Betfair Hollywood Park, the KCBS/KCAL sports reporter must have summoned all the feminine karma she could muster.

It worked, as several ladies had an unforgettable night, including Leahy, who became the first woman race caller in the history of Betfair Hollywood Park.

The race Leahy was chosen to call was won by Wrinkle Room, ridden by 10-pound apprentice Cecily Evans.  It was the first victory for Evans, who visited Del Mar last summer and decided to stay.  She’s been working as a freelance exercise rider ever since.  Wrinkle Room returned $10.40.

It is a big deal when any rider wins their first race.  Though fierce competitors on the race track, all riders get involved in the victory celebration.  It is a moment all jockeys remember their entire lives.

On her way back to her changing room, Evans was drenched with soap, water and shaving cream from almost every rider on the grounds.  Joe Talamo and Rafael Bejarano were right in the midst of the festivities armed with buckets of water.

Evans must have had a premonition of the victory.  Twelve hours before the race she tweeted, “Ready to win with Wrinkle Room,” along with a picture of the horse looking out of her stall.

In the very next race, Keep Movin’, ridden by Edwin Maldonado, re-rallied along the rail for an $8.20 payoff to give trainer Karen Headley her first career win in just her second start since going out on her own.  Karen has worked with her father, veteran trainer Bruce Headley, for years.  The proud father was by his daughter’s side in the winner’s circle.

Trainer Patricia Harrington completed the evening’s theme, winning her first race of the year in the eighth and final with 15-1 shot Colinda.  


Former jockey James Corral delivered and presented to Donna Cenicola, widow of Lewis Cenicola, a very special memento.

Cenicola died in January, 2012 at 66 from pancreatic cancer.

Though a long time trainer in Southern California, Cenicola probably was best known as the regular exercise rider for the great John Henry, who won 39 races and numerous stakes throughout his storied career.

Corral now owns a horseshoe-centric business called “If These Shoes Could Talk,” and makes such items as bridal shoe racks, horseshoe trophies and memorials.  Corral used the shoes John Henry wore when he became the world’s richest horse in winning the 1981 Jockey Club Gold Cup to fashion four handsome plaques.  Each one includes a certificate of authenticity, signed by Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally.

Of the remaining three, he’s sending one to the National Horse Racing Museum in Saratoga, New York, one to Daily Racing Form columnist Jay Privman and keeping the other for himself.






comments powered by Disqus

Related Pages

Related Stories

Top Stories