Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem May 6, 2024

May 6th, 2024

A good Monday morning to you all! Anyone else a combination of exhausted and exhilarated as we start this week after the Derby? I sure am. Saturday was our last day of racing at Tampa Bay Downs, so I’m excited to have some time to just focus on the podcast, do some relaxing, and travel to the Preakness (G1) in a couple of weeks. 

This year’s Derby sure seems to have resonated positively with more people than usual. At least in my in-person and online spheres. I don’t know if it was because of the exciting finish, the seemingly much-liked connections, or a combination of those things, but it sure seemed like more people thought it was a good Derby in comparison to other recent editions. 

I don’t know why, but immediately after each running I always want to assess whether or not the winner was a worthy winner of the race. Does this horse deserve to have its name put amongst the immortals? But that’s kind of a stupid way to think about it. Regardless of a horse’s pedigree or foundation, if you win that one race, you’re remembered forever. 

Saturday is something good for our game to build on. It seemed like almost all of the reactions and experiences I saw online were positive. But there isn’t going to be another card like Saturday’s anytime soon. I’ve long thought these megacards are good for their day but hurt our week-to-week product. I’d much rather see a few big races every weekend then 15 over two days. I know that’s not going to change because tracks like the big handle on the big days, but we need to build momentum off of a good Derby going forward. 

It’s already looking like very few Derby horses are going to go to the Preakness in a couple weeks and it’s possible the Derby winner won't go either. I just hope some of the people who maybe tuned in enjoyed the races Saturday come back and have some good races to watch when they do.  

Similar to that line of thinking, a buddy of mine on Twitter the other day said something to the effect of, “Saturday was the rare day when everything went well and racing was awesome.” I understand the sentiment because surely racing has things to fix and we do mess things up sometimes. But the idea that there aren’t great days and great things in our sport all the time is just bull. There’s a million good stories in this sport and almost everyday at every track something memorable or interesting happens. 

I think sometimes we all get tied into the negative spin zone online that we think that’s all that’s happening. It’s not. I think a lot of people who constantly participate in the negativity around racing truly do want the game to be better. They just think the only way to do that is to dwell on the bad things and that they’ll get fixed that way. That’s never been my style, so I just don’t understand that line of thinking. But to each their own, I guess. I just think if we can offer a good product each day that is priced fairly and viewed as an honest gamble, we have a chance to really grow. 

Saturday was amazing and memorable and all the good things. It felt good to see a good running of the Derby and not feel anger afterwards because of questionable connections winning or the whole day just being a chalk-fest. When our game is good, it’s so good. There’s no better mix of emotions than a great day at the races, and Saturday had a little something for everyone. We just got to make sure next Saturday, next Monday, and all the days coming up offer something great for our patrons as well.  

Everyone have a great week!