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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• TALAMO NEARS SANTA ANITA SPRING MEET RIDING TITLE
• DESORMEAUX BACK ON WARD FILLY FOR GRADE II OAKS
• ROBO GIRL STEPS UP SUNDAY IN LANDALUCE STAKES
• RICHARD AND DEBBY BALTAS SERVE WINNING FARE
CONSISTENCY PAYS OFF FOR TALAMO AS TITLE NEARS
Joe Talamo is living a dream.
Not yet old enough to vote at the tender age of 17, at the behest of the late Bobby Frankel, Talamo journeyed west to Santa Anita seven years ago from his native Louisiana.
Fast forward to June 20, 2014. The personable Cajun is about to become the winner of Santa Anita’s inaugural Spring Meet riding title, something he only fantasized about in 2007.
“As a kid, I would always watch races on the West Coast, especially since Eddie D. was an idol of mine growing up, and Kent Desormeaux, too, two guys from Louisiana who did real well,” Talamo said. “Growing up, I always wanted to try and come out here but I never thought it would happen.
“Fortunately, Bobby Frankel had horses at the Fair Grounds and we won a lot of races together. He brought me out here for a few days and things kind of skyrocketed. He helped me out so much by telling trainers about me, so I was fortunate to get off to a fast start.
“I went to New York and it was snowing, so I came right back here, but I never envisioned I’d have the success I had early on. I always thought if I worked hard, maybe I’d get there, but never this early.
“To me, being leading rider is great, especially in Southern California. The jockey colony is so competitive out here, I feel like any time I can be in the top five, it’s great. Any time I’m in the top three, it’s even better, just because it’s so competitive.
“Scotty (agent Scotty McClellan) has done a great job. We’re pretty consistent. I go out every day, whether it’s a $10,000 claimer or a Grade I, just trying to win as many as I can and keep going.”
With seven racing days remaining, Talamo holds a 36-24 lead over runner-up Tyler Baze. Talamo will try to add to his total with Sea Mona in Sunday’s $125,000 Landaluce Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 5 ½ furlongs.
“She broke a little slow from the No. 1 post position in her first start but she handled the kick-back real good, especially since it was her first race, so hopefully she’ll get a good trip and we’ll go from there,” Talamo said.
Talamo was aboard recent Californian winner Clubhouse Ride for his six furlong workout Friday morning in a bullet 1:12.20 as the 6-year-old Candy Ride horse prepared for the $500,000, Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita a week from Saturday.
Clubhouse Ride came through on the rail to overtake lone speed Fury Kapcori in the Californian, and with Game On Dude likely to add to the pace scenario in the mile and a quarter Gold Cup, it should benefit Clubhouse Ride even more, but trainer Craig Lewis was guarded.
“One can only hope,” he said.
Footbridge had been mentioned as a possible starter in the Gold Cup, but the Eoin Harty-trainee is entered in Saturday’s $100,000 Oak Tree Handicap at Pleasanton, leaving a field of seven in prospect for the Gold Cup.
They are Game On Dude, Mike Smith; Clubhouse Ride, Joe Talamo; Fury Kapcori, Corey Nakatani; Imperative, Kent Desormeaux; Lideris, no rider; Majestic Harbor, Tyler Baze; and Salto Del Indio, Brice Blanc.
Lidaris worked five furlongs this morning for Peter Miller in a minute flat.
DESORMEAUX REUNITED WITH WARD FILLY IN SUMMERTIME OAKS
Kent Desormeaux is one-for-one aboard La Mejor Fiesta, and hopes to make it two for two when he rides the daughter of Harlan’s Holiday for trainer Wesley Ward in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Summertime Oaks at a mile and a sixteenth.
“She was very handy,” Desormeaux said of La Mejor Fiesta’s win in the one-mile Trapeze Stakes at Remington Park last December. “She ought to like the (additional) ground (of the Summertime Oaks).”
The field for the Summertime Oaks: Jojo Warrior, Martin Garcia, 3-1; Live for Now, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Arethusa, Mike Smith, 7-2; Delta Flower, Corey Nakatani, 5-2; La Mejor Fiesta, Kent Desormeaux, 6-1; Front Range, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Fleet of Gold, Alex Solis, 10-1; and Stop Smiling, Gary Stevens, 5-1.
Of the eight horses entered, three are trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, and two each by Bob Baffert and Eoin Harty, leaving only Ward flying solo with La Mejor Fiesta.
CAL-BRED MAIDEN WINNER ROBO GIRL GOES IN LANDALUCE
Like several others entered in Sunday’s $125,000 Landaluce Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 5 ½ furlongs, Robo Girl is coming off an impressive maiden win.
Trainer Gary Sherlock is optimistic that the California-bred daughter of Bushwacker will give a good account of herself following her 4 ½-length triumph going 4 ½ furlongs first out on April 25.
“She’s a good filly,” Sherlock said. “She came out of her race great. She had a good work on June 7 under Tyler Baze, going five furlongs in a bullet 59 4/5 (fastest of 30 drills at the distance). She was the only horse that broke a minute all day.”
The field for the Landaluce: Seduire, Corey Nakatani; Lanie Britt, Kent Desormeaux; My Fiona, Fernando Perez; Morning Coffee, Mario Gutierrez; Abets Abet, Aaron Gryder; Saturday’s Yodeler, Elvis Trujillo; Sea Mona, Joe Talamo; Robo Girl, Tyler Baze; and Enchanting Lady, Martin Garcia.
MR. AND MRS. BALTAS ENJOY WINNING, WINING AND DINING
Richard Baltas doesn’t have to worry about where his next meal is coming from, not that he would, since the 53-year-old trainer is enjoying a sensational Spring Meet at Santa Anita.
Baltas won two races Thursday, giving him 10 victories through 32 racing days from only 35 starters, an exemplary 29 percent winning average, good for fourth in the standings.
His wife, Debby, is cooking up even more success, only in a more literal sense. “She runs the Fresh Gourmet on Huntington Drive in San Marino,” Baltas said, like a good PR man adding the following information in the same breath. “It’s open from 11 to 7 for lunch and early dinner. She does catering, too.”
Santa Anita’s Racing Department enjoyed Debby’s repast of pulled pork, cole slaw, potato salad and other assorted goodies Thursday, thanks to the generosity of agent Scotty McClellan, who sprang for the spread in celebration of his jockey’s (Joe Talamo) two Grade I victories last Sunday.
“Debby had the Stable Café at Hollywood Park,” Baltas said. “That’s where we met, but when Hollywood Park closed, she was out of a job. Her parents had owned it, but Debby took it over. She’s really good with people, too.”
As good as Richard is with horses.
“Life’s good,” he said. “I’m looking forward to Del Mar.”
Oh, and when you get to the Fresh Gourmet, one suggestion: try the potato salad.
HORSE OWNER’S SON STARTING CATCHER FOR UC IRVINE
Long-time horse owner Jerry McClanahan’s son, Jerry III, is the starting catcher for UC Irvine’s baseball team, which was recently eliminated in the College World Series. A former standout quarterback for two years at Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, the 6-2, 200-pound McClanahan from Temple City started 65 games behind the plate this year for Irvine.
He batted .310 with 38 RBIs and tossed out 45 percent of runners attempting to steal. McClanahan led the Anteaters to an upset victory over No. 1-ranked Oregon State in Corvallis before heading to Stillwater, Oklahoma, where they defeated Big 12 champion Oklahoma State to advance to the College World Series in Omaha.
The elder McClanahan visited Santa Anita in 1978, fell in love with the sport and was fortunate enough to purchase his first horse in 2000. He currently has horses in training with Ron Ellis and Humberto Luma.
Don’tmesswithness, a 2-year-old filly entered in tomorrow’s fourth race, is owned by McClanahan and Loma and named for McClanahan’s daughter, Vanessa.
FINISH LINES: Congratulations and best wishes to retired trainer Leonard Dorfman, who celebrates his 92nd birthday from Round Rock, Texas on Sunday. Trainer of stakes winners Travel Orb, Biggs, Minnesota Chief, Joni U. Bar and the late, multiple graded stakes-winning McCann’s Mojave, Dorfman was a decorated World War II combat veteran and carries a wealth of historic memories dating back to the thrilling days of yesteryear when Seabiscuit was making a household name for himself in the 30s and 40s . . . Recent Hall of Fame selection Alex Solis, who rides Fleet of Gold for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in Sunday’s Summertime Oaks, is nine shy of 5,000 career wins . . . Trainer Bill Spawr, speaking tongue-in-cheek on his affinity for drawing the No. 1 post position this meet: “They put Spawr on the rail, then they draw the rest of the race.” Even so, the highly respected trainer has won with eight of 23 runners, a remarkable 35 percent . . . Host Tom Quigley’s handicapping guests in the East Paddock Gardens Saturday and Sunday, respectively, at 11:50 a.m. will be Sam Riley, who won $119,476 on a $16 Pick Six ticket, and James Henry, 2013 Horseplayer World Series Champion (won $346,400).