Not Enough Experience?

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 29, 2009 in General Discussion, Kentucky Derby | No Comments >>

These days are no different then when grandpa played the races. The younger riders are considered to not have enough experience. Tell that to Steve Cauthen, or Ronnie Franklin.

I was just interviewed by phone. On the other end was a college reporter asking about the age of Joe Talamo.

I would have initially thought this reporter would have been rooting for the 19-year-old rider to take down the win. Instead, he took the other side of the coin. He felt he didn’t have enough experience to get the job done.

This took me back a bit since I was speaking with someone close to his age attempting to get enough experience to enter the big world. Just as Talamo, he was young, but would he be ready?

I spoke of how the young rider climbed over a fence five years ago to watch the best two minutes in sports. It was at the small bush tracks where he cut his teeth in Louisiana. You know, the place that sends us most of the Hall of Famers.

Joe has made his way in a hurry. He is a man on a mission, and he may be the best thing happening to the game today. He uses “Twitter” to keep many fans up to speed, and loves to promote the sport of kings. Now, is this what we need or what? A young man who is focused, and has the opportunity of a lifetime. This couldn’t have been better scripted. When he isn’t on the track, “tweeting,” or on the television series “Jockeys,” I think he gets a little rest.

It was after hearing about this young man being given the chance to ride into history, that a reporter put down his pen and found himself hoping Talamo could pull off the feat. After all, they are close in age, and both are seeking to take it to the next level.

We ended after about a half an hour, and the college reporter told me he was coming out to the track on Saturday to experience the day. It would be his first at the track, just like Talamo’s first in the gate. It was the last thing that the writer said to me that gave me more hope for the younger generation than ever: “Hey, what is the number of Talamo’s mount?”