Jason Beem's Thursday Column for Sept. 21, 2023
A good Thursday morning to you all! I'm writing to you from beautiful Clearwater, Florida, and after a couple months on the road, it’s good to be back home. I normally take my vacation from podcasting and writing for Twinspires right when Colonial ends, but this year I pushed it back to this coming week due to going to Woodbine and wanting to do shows from there. In the spirit of that, I wanted to make today’s column about the concept of truly taking a break.
The last few years when I’ve taken my vacation, I’ve deleted the twitter app from my phone and stayed off of it the entire time. I get most of my racing news and updates from there. I’m a big believer that if you’re going to take a vacation, take a vacation. For so many of us who either work in racing or are serious horseplayers, it can be a very consuming holiday. We read about it, study the races, and follow along almost every day. Being serious about racing is an emotional commitment. This summer seemed more emotional within racing for a variety of reasons.
This time of year always feels like a good time to take a break. There’s natural seasons within racing that are kind of carved out by the various track calendars. Labor Day always feels like the end of summer, and in horse racing it also feels like it officially begins the march toward the Breeders’ Cup. I always think of the racing seasons as Derby trail season in the winter, Triple Crown season in the spring, summer racing in the summer, then Breeders’ Cup leadup in the fall.
It’s my job to promote racing, and it might sound counterintuitive to tell people that sometimes it’s good to take a break from it. But I believe that as serious participants and players, we do need one sometimes. It’s so hard to find an edge in horse racing. If you’re tired or suffering from burnout or in any way not at your best, that edge can be gone in a flash. I think for those of us who work in racing, taking a break is good, because if you’re not truly passionate and excited about racing, I think it comes through in your work. It’s so easy for it to become a job and not a passion. I always want to be on the side of it feeling like a passion and not a job.
My plans for the next 10 days are to do some projects around the house. To do some painting. To try and see some friends, and spend time with them here in Florida. Maybe take a day trip somewhere, but nothing too exciting. Normally I watch zero horse racing on my vacation, but I’m going to make an exception to watch a few races at Parx on Saturday to support my friend Jessica as she calls her first Grade 1 races. Other than that, I don’t want to hear a call to post or a “they’re off” until October 1st. I find that each year when I take the break the first day back watching or following the races always feels a little strange. But within a day or two I’m excited about it again.
I talked to a friend recently about the grind of working at a year round track. I think having seasons like I do at Tampa and Colonial really help to make it seem like things are fresh and exciting at all times. Little breaks are good for us, and I hope when you take your little breaks from racing or work that they’re impactful and a refresher for you.
See you all back here next month!