Jason Beem's Thursday Thoughts for Feb. 22, 2024

February 22nd, 2024

A good Thursday morning to you all! Rebel (G2) weekend is this weekend’s Kentucky Derby (G1) trail feature, and it appears to be a good one. I’m really curious to see how Carbone is bet in that race, as he’s lined at 15-1 and I can’t imagine his odds go that high following one bad start in the mud. But, we shall see! Also curious to see if Timberlake adds his name to the list of disappointing three-year-old debuts from horses who were really good at two. He deserves to be the favorite off of his two-year-old campaign last year, but as we see every year just a little regression, or the others catch up to you, and it’s short price and off the board!

Here are some of my Thursday Thoughts:

–Today is the Luke Kruytbosch S. at Turf Paradise, and I really love that Turf Paradise has kept this race on their schedule. Luke called at Turf Paradise for many years before his untimely passing in 2008, and my favorite part about bringing Luke up anywhere is that anyone who knew him is always excited to talk about him and just how great of a guy he was. He got to call 10 editions of the Kentucky Derby, starting out with Charismatic in 1999 and ending with Big Brown in 2008, just a couple months before he passed.

–Quick Luke Kruytbosch story. A couple times a year in 2006 and 2007, he’d call me at Portland Meadows and try to prank call me. Only problem was Luke’s voice was so distinct, nobody could ever be fooled by him. He one time called pretending to be Frank Stronach and told me, “You’re doing a great job at Portland Meadows” in a horrible accent (Portland was owned by Stronach before they sold it to developers.) The other one that he did a few times, he would call me and ask to order our lunch special. “Yeah, how about that $4.99 beef stroganoff, that sounds good.” What a guy. We miss you, Luke.

–The Saudi Cup (G1) is apparently this weekend. I’m pretty out of touch with any racing overseas and honestly, I don’t like how much they’ve saturated some of our races over here like the Santa Anita H. (G1) amongst others. I get that it’s huge money for a lot of these connections, and I know I'm supposed to think more worldly, but I’m just not a fan and won’t be watching.

–The Rebel is this weekend, and this race will always make me think back to the 2020 running because that weekend was when COVID-19 started to shut lots of stuff down. If I remember correctly, fans were allowed in on the Friday before Rebel, but not for the actual Saturday day Rebel card. I remember Ed DeRosa posting pictures from inside the basically empty track of the races. It was a soggy Rebel that year, and I remember a friend from Twitter, Ryan Dickey, posting a video of the actual Rebel from down at the top of the stretch, looking through some fencing. He also gave a stirring call of the race. “Here’s the Rebel…pause…Nadal.”  To this day, I say Nadal exactly like him anytime Rafael Nadal’s name is mentioned.

–The Rebel has had some insanely good horses pass through its winner’s circle — of course, most notably, American Pharoah. Curlin, Smarty Jones, and Lookin at Lucky are just a few of the winners from just this century. Looking forward to see who adds their name to the list on Saturday and excited for Matt Dinerman’s first call of this historic race and, I’m guessing, also his first $1 million race.