Jason Beem's Thursday Column for Feb. 2, 2023
A good Thursday morning to you all. Another big weekend coming up with the Holy Bull (G3) and Withers (G3) leading the Road to the Kentucky Derby charge. We also have our first graded stakes races of the season at Tampa Bay Downs, and both drew big fields which I’m excited about. I was updating my running list of “guests I’d like to get on my podcast” the other day and wanted to write about some people in racing that I’ve never gotten to interview but hope to someday.
Todd is my white whale guest. I’ve been saying that for years but I’ve never reached out to him or his camp to request an interview. I suppose it’s kind of like purposefully saving something big for down the road? We’ve been fortunate to have many of the top trainers in racing like Chad Brown, Steve Asmussen, Brad Cox, Tom Amoss, and so many others on the podcast over the years. But for some reason, I’ve just never had the guts to reach out to Mr. Pletcher. While I’ve called many of his horses over the years, our paths have never crossed. Everything I’ve ever heard from people who know him is what a good sense of humor he has and I really think it would be cool to get the chance to chat with him about racing and the lifestyle of a trainer and much more. I feel like if I ever do get the chance to interview him I’m going to have to ask for like 45 minutes or more though as there’s so many questions I want to ask.
I obviously have an extra interest in talking to fellow racecallers, and there are two major voices from our sport that I’d love to talk with who have never been on the show. Dave Johnson is one of those. He was really the voice of horse racing when I was a young kid, and I just think it would be very neat to hear what it was like to call some of the big races he did. I’ve also been told he’s had a very interesting life outside of horse racing and would love to hear about that as well. I’ve never met or chatted with Dave before, but this year I did get sent his famous annual Christmas card at Tampa Bay Downs, so I think my time to ask him on the show is now!
Similar to Dave Johnson, I think those old ABC racing broadcasts represent so much nostalgia and great memories for so many of us racing fans. Charlsie Cantey was such an amazing broadcaster and had an incredible voice and ability on air. I’d love to be able to ask her about broadcasting all those big events and some of her favorite memories. I have to think a lot of today’s broadcasters looked up to her as well, so I’d be curious to hear her thoughts on her influence as a racing television personality.
I had the good fortune to meet Trevor Denman back in like 2007 and watch him call a race at Santa Anita. It was a field of five claimers and afterwards he turned around and said to me, “Jason, I’m so sorry that’s the race you were here for; that had to be the worst race we’ve ever had here at Santa Anita.” I replied, “Trevor, those are stakes horses where I call.” He’s just such a legend and I’d love to ask him about 100 different calls and races that he’s gotten to call. Also there’s a famous binoculars story I have to ask him about.
I know Mike has done lots of podcasts over the years, so I feel like he’d be game to join us someday. Plus I think his agent follows me on twitter, so that might be my in. Since he is a Hall of Famer who’s ridden some of the best horses of this century and last, I feel like there’s a million questions I have. I’m sure some legends get tired of answering the same questions, and I feel like I’d be like Chris Farley in that sketch from SNL with Paul McCartney. “Remember when you rode Zenyatta…that was cool.” I always try to ask questions about the lives off the track as much as on, just because I think that’s where so much of the humanity of the great people in our sport lives. I’d be curious to ask him about the life of a jockey outside of the racetrack.
Jessica hasn’t worked in racing for quite a while, but in her brief time in the game she ascended to some pretty big tracks in a pretty short amount of time. I’d love to know what that experience was like for her as well as what she’s been up to in her post-racing career.
There's so many more that I would love the chance to get to talk to as well. But here's hoping we get the chance to talk to a few or even all of these folks someday on the Jason Beem Horse Racing Podcast.