If you've ever been in the Santa Anita press box, are a track employee, or a fan who likes to go to the races, odds are you've encountered the joy and warmth Cuco Talamantes brings to the racetrack.
You may know him as Cuco, Coco, the Patrón, or "El Destructor" (from his boxing days), but he's been a constant presence at Santa Anita since 1971 and has also worked at Del Mar, Los Alamitos, and Hollywood Park.
Cuco has not only run the press box kitchen at Santa Anita all these years, but he's also been an ever-present, warm companion to all the media members who have inhabited the space at the top of the Santa Anita grandstand.
This week Cuco was hospitalized and diagnosed with colon cancer. He is scheduled to undergo surgery sometime March 17. Thankfully most of his medical expenses will be covered through insurance and other funds, but the road back to good health will likely be long and difficult. As his son Gio told me this week, "He was a boxer before, but I told him he's in for the fight of his life."
We're raising funds to help Cuco and his family for the long road ahead. If you can give a little or a lot, it is all greatly appreciated.
Feel free to contact me through this site or DM me on Twitter (@BH_jbalan) if you have any questions.