Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem Dec. 18, 2023
A good Monday morning to you all! This will be the last Monday column for the year 2023, as next Monday is Christmas and the following one is New Year's, so I’ll be off both days.
I want to thank everyone who reads this column as well as tunes into the podcast. It’s truly a joy to get to write and speak about horse racing several times a week on the various platforms through TwinSpires. It’s been about two years since I started doing the two columns a week and next month will be EIGHT years since we started the podcast! Which is crazy to think. Once again a big thank you to everyone who listens, reads, and interacts with our content here. It means a lot. And, of course, thank you to TwinSpires for sponsoring and allowing me to do it.
Being a horse racing fan or player is not an easy endeavor. The game is full of ups and downs, wins and losses, and a flat-out emotional roller coaster sometimes. It’s the same for us who work in the game. Some of the biggest highs you’ll ever have in your life come while you’re at work, which is a really cool part of the job. There are also days you leave sad, exhausted, disenchanted, or frustrated. The game is chock-full of emotions at every corner. From the trainers and grooms who work with the horses everyday to the owners, to the horseplayers who wager their hard-earned money and have potential scores won or lost on the bob of a nose. Loving horse racing isn’t easy.
I’ve had times in my life where I wanted to get out of horse racing. Usually it was because I was struggling in other areas of my life, but there have been times when I wonder if it’s worth it. I think because of the emotions that can come with the game, it’s important to step away from it from time to time. Usually for me that just means when I’m not working, I try to have interests away from it. Or when I’m on vacation, it means doing my best to not watch any races or consume any social media. I find for me that works the best to keep my passion for horse racing going strong when I’m immersed in it and avoiding burnout.
As the year winds down, I think the game, like most years, had its ups and downs. There are always great things that happen during the horse racing calendar. The story of Mage was certainly one of the highlights of the winter and spring. But for me, on the track, 2023 will always be the year of Arcangelo. There was no single better moment for me as a fan (and a tout) than him holding off the late runners in the Belmont S. while his trainer Jena Antonucci screamed him home. The video of her rooting that horse home from the 3/8ths pole was like an elixir to my jaded racing soul.
We usually don’t realize we’re witnessing history in the moments we’re living through it. But I knew that race was something special right away. And when I saw that reaction video of Jena, I must have watched it 20 times that next day. It still gives me chills to this day.
We need moments like that to keep the fire burning within us. To remember that the game we love is worth the commitment that we give it. I know for me personally, I still find being a part of the game a worthwhile experience. My community of friends are mostly in it, so for me it’s also a big part of my social life as well as occupation.
I was able to visit four new tracks this year that I’d never attended races at. I got to call three days at Sam Houston Race Park and visit Penn National, Finger Lakes, and Mohawk Raceway for the first time. I got to call my first $1,000,000 race with the Arlington Million, which was certainly a career highlight. But most importantly, I got to work in a game I love and meet lots of people who share that love for horse racing. All of those meetings were truly highlights. Best wishes for these final days of the year, and we’ll see you back here on Mondays in the new year!