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TALAMO, BEJARANO, GOMEZ & SMITH TOP ‘A’ LIST JOCKEYS AS SANTA ANITA RIDER COLONY REMAINS WORLD-CLASS, GARCIA, LEPAROUX, NAKATANI, MALDONADO, FLORES, GRYDER, BAZE ENSURE TRADITIONAL DEPTH
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.
Include Me Out and Talamo went on to victories at Betfair Hollywood Park in the Grade II Marjorie L. Everett Handicap on May 19, and the Grade I Vanity Handicap on June 16. Talamo went on win Del Mar’s Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Stakes with Include Me Out on Aug. 4.
A native of Marrero, Louisiana, Talamo and his agent, Scotty McClellan, now stand poised to join the ranks of America’s elite jockeys as the winter/spring meet nears.
Of the new faces signed up for the upcoming meet, Edwin Maldonado and Julien Leparoux are two jockeys to watch.
Maldonado, a virtual unknown a year ago, was this year’s leading rider at Fairplex Park and is atop the Betfair Hollywood Park Fall jockey standings going into the meet’s final weekend.
Naturally light at 108 pounds, Leparoux, a 29-year-old French native, is also a two-time Eclipse winner, with his first national honor coming as an apprentice in 2006.
First post time on opening day is 12 noon. Two grade I stakes, the Malibu and the La Brea, along with the Grade II Sir Beaufort, will headline an action-packed card. Those attending will receive Santa Anita’s traditional wall calendar free, with paid admission.
The 71-day winter/spring meet will close on April 21. For more information, visit www.santaanita.com, or call (626) 574-RACE.