Joseph 'Joe' Talamo
|Lived:||12th January 1990 --|
|Career Wins:||250 and counting|
Joe Talamo is hailed as a somewhat prodigious jockey in the United States. His father was an assistant trainer to Connie Tassistro in the New Orleans area and took Talamo to racecourses from a very young age. At eleven, Talamo started riding thoroughbreds at the local training centre and showed great prowess in the saddle. In fact, the youngster was so enthusiastic about the sport that he decided to leave school in 2006, at sixteen years of age, to pursue a professional racing career.
To best illustrate the extraordinary talent that is Joseph Talamo, one only needs to take a look at the auspicious beginnings of his life as an apprentice jockey. In June 2006 Talamo started his apprenticeship at Louisiana Downs racecourse; in July 2006 he won his first race at the track.
The 2007 racing season brought with it a list of wins that reads like a compendium of an up-and-coming jockey's wildest, most fantastic dreams. At seventeen, the first/second year apprentice Talamo took the win at the Providencia Stakes, the Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap, the Vanity Handicap - his first Grade 1 race victory - , the Clement L. Hirsch Handicap, the Yellow Ribbon Stakes, the Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship Stakes, the Railbird Stakes, the Triple Bend Invitational Handicap, and the Vermont O. Underwood Stakes. These are of course only the major wins of Talamo's stellar career.
As a result of his remarkable performance...
Talamo was awarded the Eclipse Award for outstanding apprentice jockey of 2007. Suffice to say that this one of the few moments in his career that was entirely unsurprising. To keep things interesting, Talamo took his award and went on to become the youngest ever jockey to race in the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita. Although he didn't win the race - he managed to finally do so in 2009 - he did leave a lasting impression.
In 2008, Talamo won a comparatively small number of major races (for his standards); the Santa Ysabel Stakes, the Morvich Handicap and the Hollywood Turf Express Handicap. However, he established himself as one of the most consistent and sought after jockeys around, climbing into the top 20 of highest ranking jockeys in the United States.
Not one to stir off course, Talamo raced an almost ridiculously successful 2009 season. He competed in 1237 races and booked 160 wins, 176 second places and 167 third places. His earnings exceed $8million since the start of his career, making him the true Wunderkind of the American racing scene.