Leparoux caught my eye last year at Churchill Downs, where he dominated the jockey's standings just like he had at Turfway Park. I noticed him because ever time I looked up, he was beating me in the last jump. And he wasn't just winning with favorites. He was getting his mounts to outrun their odds.
The more I studied, the more I found to like. Great, soft hands and an excellent sense of pace. His mounts finished strongly, benefitting from excellent timing. Shug McGaughey said of him: "He's Pat Day with five pounds." My word: spooky, as in appearing from nowhere. I had not seen an apprentice like him since the great Steve Cauthen in the late '70s.
Talamo has been no less impressive, I think. Have not seen him as much as I had seen Leparoux. But what I have seen has been impressive. Horses run for the 17-year-old. Like Leparoux, there appear to be no major holes in his game. Both are wise beyond their years on the grass, a surface that makes subtle demands of a rider's skills.
On Sunday, Talamo came from last in a field of nine three-year-olds to win the San Pedro Stakes at 6-1/2 furlongs. He settled mount Try To Fly nicely and didn't rattle as the leaders sped away. He bided his time, awaited a hole to open, then sent his horse on through to a strong finish. Indeed, an eye-opening way to break your stakes maiden at Santa Anita.
We're not comparing Talamo to Cauthen yet. Not even to Leparoux, until more evidence is in. But he is a special young rider, one whose future is anticipated with great interest.