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MY FAVORITE WEEKEND / JOE TALAMO

When he's not on the race track, he's jockeying for fun

November 06, 2009|Mark Sachs

Joe Talamo is only 19, but he's already riding high in horse-racing circles. You may have caught him in the Animal Planet reality series "Jockeys," and you can see him live and in person today and Saturday at Santa Anita in the Breeders' Cup.

Pretty heady stuff, but the Monrovia resident is taking it all in stride.

"The preparation for a big event like the Breeders' isn't really any different for me," he said, "although obviously, the prestige factor is there. But the mind-set is to treat it like any other race. I was more nervous about riding when I first started out, but like anything else, you learn to relax."

Here's how Talamo kicks back away from the track.

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On the links

I've been playing golf for about a year now, and I've really grown to love it. I'd like to try the Trump National course in Rancho Palos Verdes. I've heard it's supposed to be one of the best around. Golf is just so challenging -- you can shoot a 78 one day and a 96 the next. That's what I love about it, because I'm a very competitive person, but horse racing is 100 miles an hour, while golf is just so relaxing.

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Just like home

One of my favorite places to eat is the Ragin' Cajun in Hermosa Beach, and I'll tell you what, I'm from Louisiana, and that restaurant is pretty authentic. The owner's name is Steven, and he's from Lafayette. I've tried some other Cajun places, but to me, Steve's place is the best. I like the fried crayfish tails and the shrimp etouffee. They play Cajun music, and it's almost like a party in there, the place is just alive!

Another favorite is the Derby in Arcadia. It's kind of a fancy steakhouse, and if I'm celebrating an anniversary or any special occasion, that's the place I go. A lot of the people from the racetrack go there. My girlfriend really likes the steaks there too; our favorite thing is the bacon-wrapped filet mignon with asparagus.

For breakfast, I like Rod's cafe in Arcadia. It's also right across from Santa Anita, so it's really convenient, and the food there's great. I usually get two eggs over easy with crispy bacon, a little bit of hash browns and a toasted bagel. As soon as I walk in, they start making it.

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An Old Town fan

I love Old Town Pasadena. The atmosphere is great, and even if I'm not going to buy anything, it's fun to just walk around. There's a lot of good places to eat, and I like the Apple computer store there. The crowds are part of the fun, just like at the Dodger games.

But when I want to buy a suit, I always go to Jimmy Au's in Beverly Hills. His signature thing is that he specializes in men 5-foot-8 and under, and being 5-2, they really can fit me well.

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The active life

I don't have to worry about my weight too much because of my high metabolism, but I do run two to four miles a day and have a personal trainer I work out with at 24 Hour Fitness. I also like running in the hills above my house in Monrovia. The views are incredible, especially just before the sun sets. I always see deer and other animals; thank God, I haven't seen a bear yet.

And in Pasadena they have a brand-new bowling center called 300, and it's unbelievable. They bought out this old alley and totally redid it. It's almost like a nightclub when you walk in. The food there is as good as any restaurant. I'm a pretty good bowler, but I try to put the bumpers up when nobody's looking.

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mark.sachs@latimes.com

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