Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Jockey Joe Talamo thought he had the horse to beat in the 2009 Kentucky Derby. The young rider had the mount aboard Run for the Roses favorite I Want Revenge.
Trained by Jeff Mullins, I Want Revenge came into the Kentucky Derby off a solid victory in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. He was made the 3-1 morning- line favorite for the 135th Run for the Roses.
However, Talamo never got a chance to compete for the roses. I Want Revenge was scratched that Saturday morning with an injury of his left front ankle. The colt has not run since.
Now Talamo has a mount on one of the favorites for this year's Kentucky Derby. The 20-year-old rider is the jockey for Santa Anita Derby winner Sidney's Candy.
"To have a horse in the Kentucky Derby, any kind of horse, is a tremendous feat," Talamo said after the win last Saturday. "I feel very honored and blessed just to make it back this year, after what happened last year. We'll see how good he is in the Derby, but the way he handled himself today was unbelievable. He relaxes so well and he does things three-year olds don't do."
Trained by John Sadler, Sidney's Candy will be making his first start on real dirt at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. Along with the Santa Anita Derby victory, the colt has wins this year in the San Vicente and San Felipe Stakes.
"I don't think he's going to have a problem," Sadler said. "He's a good horse."
Sadler plans to leave California on Monday, April 12 headed toward Louisville.
Talamo has been the only rider Sidney's Candy has had in his six race career.
"He works the horse, we like him, and he just happened to be in the right place at the right time," Sadler said about the young jockey.
The expected Kentucky Derby favorite is again the Wood Memorial champ. Eskendereya, trained by Todd Pletcher, posted a 9 3/4-length victory last Saturday at Aqueduct. He was returned to Florida before heading to Kentucky.
"We'll just try to keep him happy," said Pletcher. "We'll keep doing what we have been doing."
Lookin At Lucky's troubled trip in the Santa Anita Derby, where he finished third, probably won't be reflected in the Kentucky Derby odds. The 2009 champion two-year-old colt may well be second in the morning-line behind Eskendereya.
"Lookin At Lucky looks fantastic today," said trainer Bob Baffert on Sunday. "He's happy, so that's good. He leaves on the 12th (for Churchill Downs) and yeah, (Garrett) Gomez will ride him back.
"Garrett came by the barn this morning and we talked things over. I didn't like where the horse was the first 100 yards, but I should have told Garrett exactly what to do. I just left it up to him and I messed it up.
"In the Rebel (Stakes on March 13), he was really knocked out after the race. But this is the best the horse has ever come out of a race. He was ice cold and he was bouncing. We learned a lot about the horse that will really help his chances in the Derby. We got beat by a very nice horse, and you can't make any mistakes against a horse like that. We're not the favorite (for the Derby) anymore. We've dropped down a few notches."
Along with Sidney's Candy, another speed horse headed to the Kentucky Derby is Illinois Derby winner American Lion.
"There is only one Derby and we plan on being there," said the colt's trainer Eoin Harty. " I think we needed to get a race over the dirt and fortunately he responded well to it. I have had three Kentucky Derby horses, all Tiznow runners and this is another one that looks to be headed in the right direction."