Lessons Learned

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 26, 2010 in General Discussion, Kentucky Derby | 4 Comments >>

It was just a year ago that Joe Talamo was ready to ride in the race of his life. He was set to ride I Want Revenge, and he was scratched the morning of the Derby. Talamo is as tough as they come, but he looked as if tears could roll out of his eyes at any time. Who could blame him? I wanted to cry, and I was watching a young man denied his shot at history.

Joe-Joe Talamo enlisted the help of one of the best in the game to help him prepare. Jerry Bailey sat down and dissected about 10 Kentucky Derbies with him. That little lesson could not have had a price. Bailey telling you what to expect, is like gaining 5 years experience.

Talamo is aboard Sidney’s Candy. He is 20-years-old, and in the right place at the right time. A young man full of talent, getting back to the Derby. Many riders wait an entire lifetime and never get a chance. But not Talamo….. He will be one we will talk about for years to come.

John Sadler trains the runner, and you may have heard of him before. He trains a little mare by the name of Zenyatta…..

Sidney has raced on synthetic surfaces only. But, when he hit the stretch drive at Santa Anita and drew away by daylight, it was then he was thought of as a real contender. He beat Lookin At Lucky, and his next trip will be to handle the unforgiving surface in Louisville.

Jerry showed him the most important things about riding the Derby. “Get them out of the gate.” Don’t lose ground or get squeezed back playing the waiting game. Some riders will never know the feeling, and Bailey wanted to reach out and help his fellow rider. He taught him that position is everything, and where you place yourself can be more important than pace or lack thereof…

I used to watch Bailey ride for years. He was excellent, even when he lost. He may have gotten beat by a better animal, but not by beating himself. He knew where to be, and how to get a horse to communicate. This is the gift that a handful of riders only know. The ability to speak with your hands, and get the horse to do what you want is more than half of the battle. The rest rides on pace, and luck from the racing gods. Talamo has the gifts, and now he has knowlege. Pair them up, and you may have a young man who will make the best of his chances this year. No matter what, Talamo will be back. Every mount he looks better, and he knows the trick is to have two ears and one mouth. I think he will do well. Just wait and see. And if all falls to pieces for Sidney’s Candy, just wait until next year when Joe is that much more experienced.