Jockey Joe Talamo made the most of his first trip to Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort Aug. 6 by winning the first race, the $85,000 Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes, with his first mount.
Talamo gunned Doubledown Stables' Backdoor Kenny to the front in the six-furlong stakes for 2-year-olds, and the Half Ours colt wired the field in a stakes record 1:10.92 on a fast track (VIDEO). James DiVito trains Backdoor Kenny, who was bred in Kentucky by Ron Kirk and Poplar Hill Equine.
“So far, so good,” said Talamo, who traveled to Mountaineer to ride Dreamy Kid in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. II).
Talamo flew on a red-eye flight from Southern California the evening of Aug. 5, stopping in Charlotte, S.C., before flying to Pittsburgh, Pa., and driving to Mountaineer. He wasn’t scheduled to ride in the first race but picked up the mount just before post time.
“It’s always good to win,” said Talamo, a fan of social media who frequently discusses his experiences on Twitter. “The track feels pretty good. I really like (Dreamy Kid’s) chances in the Derby; he beat Coil last time and has been training really well.”
Dreamy Kid, a 3-year-old colt by Lemon Drop Kid , defeated Coil by a head in the July 8 Swaps Stakes (gr. II) at Hollywood Park in his last start for trainer Neil Drysdale, who also traveled to Mountaineer. Coil returned to win the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park.
Talamo, who moved to Southern California a few years ago after dominating at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in his hometown of New Orleans, said he felt right at home at hot, hazy, humid Mountaineer.
“I like it,” Talamo said. “It feels like New Orleans anyway.”
Rafael Bejarano, who rides with Talamo in Southern California, captured two of the first five stakes on the Aug. 6 program at Mountaineer. He won with Silly Goose Racing Stable's D'wild Ride in the $85,000 West Virginia Secretary of State (VIDEO) and Carl Pollard's Kiss Mine in the $85,000 West Virginia Senate President's Cup (VIDEO).
Bejarano won the 2004 West Virginia Derby with Sir Shackleton when he was based at tracks in Kentucky.