ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 14, 2012)—Joe Talamo, who at age 23 led the recently concluded Santa Anita Autumn Meet and thus became the first jockey since Rafael Bejarano or Joel Rosario to win a major meet title in Southern California since Garrett Gomez took the 2007 Hollywood Fall Meet crown, heads a list of world-class jockeys set to compete at Santa Anita’s 2012-’13 winter/spring meet which opens on Wednesday, Dec. 26.
Joining Talamo are the afore mentioned Bejarano, 30, a three-time winter/spring leader who has 10 Southern California riding titles to his credit, Gomez, a two-time Eclipse Award winner who turns 41 on Jan. 1, and who led the nation in money-won four consecutive years (2006-’09), and two-time Eclipse winner Mike Smith, who at age 47, won this year’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic aboard Royal Delta and the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint with Mizdirection. These two wins enabled Smith to break a tie with retired Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey to become the all-time winningest Breeders’ Cup jockey with an incredible 17 World Championship tallies.
Edwin Maldonado, Martin Garcia, Julien Leparoux, Corey Nakatani, David Flores, Aaron Gryder, Tyler Baze, Victor Espinoza and others comprise what many feel is the most competitive Jockeys’ Room in America.
Talamo, whose 37 Autumn Meet wins easily outdistanced Bejarano’s 21 and provided him his first California riding title, is enjoying the best year of his young career.
Talamo’s “big horse” in 2012 has been a 4-year-old filly, Include Me Out, who was most recently third in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. Owned by Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable, Include Me Out has won four graded stakes this year, beginning with the Grade II La Canada Stakes on Jan. 22, and the Grade I Santa Margarita Invitational Stakes on March 17, both at The Great Race Place.