Joe Talamo, the leading candidate for this year’s outstanding apprentice Eclipse Award, will no longer be represented by agent Ronnie Ebanks.
Exactly one month before the Eclipse Awards were to be presented, 17-year-old Talamo told the Daily Racing Form that Scotty Mclellan would be his agent for the Santa Anita meet that begins Dec. 26. Mclellan also holds the book for journeyman Alex Solis.
According to Ebanks, Talamo’s decision was based on concern over competition from Ebanks’ other client, jockey Tyler Baze. Going into the Dec. 22 closing day card at Hollywood Park, Baze was second in the standings (28 wins) to leading rider Garrett Gomez (34 wins). Talamo was fifth with 17 victories.
“He gave me an ultimatum to fire Tyler or he was gonna get another agent,” said Ebanks. “I said ‘You’re making the stupidest mistake of your career; you’re making this decision based on emotions.’ I begged him not to do it, but he didn’t listen.”
"I wanted to go in a different direction," Talamo told the Form. "Me and Tyler are fighting to get to the top. We’re good friends. It’s part of the game. It’s time to move on."
Ebanks guided the jockey’s rise to national recognition when he relocated to California in April. The veteran agent picked up Baze shortly after returning to California with Talamo, and the 25-year-old jockey has been a solid presence on the Southern California circuit since that time.