Jockeys Talamo, Smith approach riding milestones

by | 03.26.2012 | 7:17am

Joe Talamo has been riding since he was 16. Now 22, the effervescent Louisiana native already has 995 victories, five shy of 1,000.

“If I ever thought I'd win 1,000, I never thought it would be this quick,” Talamo said after piloting Sarangani to a front-running, $22.20 victory for trainer Bruce Headley in Saturday's third race. Talamo has been riding regularly in Southern California since April 2007, when he left the Southeast at the behest of the late Bobby Frankel.

“I think it's harder out here because we only race four days a week and there are short fields and eight races a day,” said Talamo, who has been represented by agent Scott McClellan for the last four-plus years. “But I've been so fortunate from the time I started riding to the present day.

“All the owners and trainers have supported me. This April it's been five years I've been riding out here. Time flies. It's been a fun ride.”

Meanwhile, Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, by his own admission is nearing his most significant milestone, one he says he'll cherish more than any of the others: 5,000 career victories. On Saturday, the 46-year-old New Mexico native registered No. 4,996 with a typically polished ride aboard Close to the Edge for trainer Bill Spawr in the sixth race, leaving him four shy of 5,000.

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