Growing up in Arizona, Michael Talla rode bulls and bareback broncs at rodeos. These days he’s more likely to get his exercise on a state-of-the-art treadmill at the Sports Club L.A. and his horse fix from watching his Thoroughbreds run at Southern California racetracks.
Talla, 63, is chairman of The Sports Club Co., which runs high-end fitness centers in Los Angeles, California’s Orange County, and in New York City. A few years ago he branched out into Thoroughbred ownership. With his horses stabled at the barn of leading trainer John Sadler, he is heading toward first class in that endeavor as well.
Crisp won the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) March 6 for Talla, who owns the 3-year-old filly outright. He had his first taste of stakes success as a partner in Oil Man. Sadler and bloodstock agent David Ingordo have found Talla some young stock that could ultimately send Talla's stable into the rarefied atmosphere of not only grade I stakes victories but perhaps Triple Crown or Breeders’ Cup territory.
“He loves to come out in the mornings and see the horses breeze,” said Sadler. “He’s the kind of owner we need. He wants to get some good horses and do things right.” Talla, who lives in Bel Air, Calif., discovered racing as a youngster in Casa Grande, Ariz.
“The first races I went to were at Turf Paradise,” said Talla. “But I never had time to buy a horse. I just got busy like we all do, doing our regular jobs.”
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