Jockey Profile: Joe Talamo

Profile Picture: D.S. Williamson

D.S. Williamson

December 2nd, 2018

Horseplayers who play Southern California tracks Santa Anita Park and Del Mar know that one of the most reliable jockeys on the grounds is Joe Talamo. Joe almost never rides the best horse, but he always does a great job. Unless Talamo's mounts have no shot, Joe puts them into a position to cash a check.

That's all you can ask when handicapping jockeys. Check out 5 of Joe Talamo's top rides. We'll start with a ride that Joe provided to upset a Grade 1 race in September.

Jockey Profile:  Joe Talamo

2018 Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes - Vale Dori

Talamo got Vale Dori quickly out of the gate. Joe noticed that Tyler Baze aboard Shenandoah Queen wanted the lead. So, he simply coasted about a half a length behind the front-runner to a :48.02 half-mile. Joe got Vale Dori to relax so nicely that once he pushed the go button, it was only a matter of by how many lengths Vale Dori was going to win.

What's amazing is that even though the field was small, Abel Tasman's presence produced a huge $24.60 win mutuel. Vale Dori finished a respectable 10th, ahead of Abel Tasman again, in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

2018 Grade 3 Ohio Derby - Core Beliefs

The best 3-year-olds in North America didn't descend upon Thistledowns for the 2018 Ohio Derby, but so what? The race was deep with some talented 3-year-olds joining the fray. Talamo learned his craft riding on the turf, but he knew that he mustn't give up position, which is why instead of going back and trying to save ground, he decided it was better to lose aground around the first turn.

By keeping Core Beliefs out of trouble, he could then get a clear run to the wire. Making those kinds of decisions, to save ground or not, is how jockeys most impact races like the Ohio Derby with no clear favorites.

2016 Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap - Melatonin

Another way jockeys impact races is making decisions based on the best chance of winning. Joe Talamo knew that he probably couldn't beat 6/5 favorite Effinex in the 2016 Santa Anita Handicap if he didn't go for it right out of the gate.

Joe did by hustling Melatonin to the lead. The gelded progeny of Kodiak Kowboy ran the three-quarters in 1:10.81. With a wall of horses chasing him, Melatonin ran off for a stunning 4.24 lengths score. The gelding would go on to finish second in the Oaklawn Handicap, win the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, and finish 5th in the Breeders' Cup Classic behind Arrogate, California Chrome, Keen Ice, and Hoppertunity.

2016 Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup - Texas Ryano

Although one of the favorites in the 2016 Hollywood Turf Cup, Talamo's ride aboard Texas Ryano shows Joe impeccably understands pace. Winning races on the turf's tough because it's not just about fractions. It's also about distance. Talamo kept Texas Ryano at a close enough distance, no matter the pace, to produce the horses best kick.

Any further behind, the kick would be too short. Any closer, and Ryano might not have relaxed enough in the earlier part of the race to produce his best kick.

2014 Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile - Obviously

Talk about understanding pace! One of the things all great jockeys know is that if you're aboard the best horse and that horse has speed, you use that speed. That's exactly what Joe Talamo did aboard Obviously to win he 2014 Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile. The legendary Southern California gelded runner got the first quarter in 22.06. He ran the half-mile in a blistering 44.50.

Horses aren't supposed to win route races on the turf after running the half in 44.50. The key move was the small burst at the top of the stretch that gave Talamo enough separation to hold off the closers.

Joe Talamo continues to provide great ride after great ride. He doesn't often jump aboard the favorite, especially in stakes races, which make Talamo one of the best riders to key in exotics when handicapping jockeys.