Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem Feb. 26, 2024

February 26th, 2024

A good Monday morning to you all! Hope everyone had a good weekend. The weather turned a great corner down here in Florida, and we were racing under sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s all week at Tampa Bay Downs. It’s such a fun time of year down here, and the good weather and full fields make my job such a fun challenge this time of year. Less than two weeks from the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) too!

Timberlake was certainly the star of the weekend here stateside, but I think Senor Buscador’s win overseas was the one generating the most buzz on Saturday. What a remarkably cool horse who it feels like has danced so many dances but in reality, that was just his 18th career start — which, for a quality older horse these days, actually feels like a lot, but that’s a separate conversation. The Saudi Cup (G1) ended up being a very exciting race, and seeing Senor Buscador get up at the wire was certainly thrilling as a fan. I hadn’t planned on watching but ultimately couldn’t resist to watch the big one as it fell between races at Tampa.

His career certainly has been unique starting off at Remington Park winning his debut the Friday after the 2020 presidential election. He came right back the next month and took home the Springboard Mile and figured to be well on his way to a run along the Kentucky Derby trail. Well, one fifth-place finish in the Risen Star (G2) later and an injury, and he missed the rest of his three-year-old season. I always joke that this horse must have a ton of frequent flyer miles because since he came back at four, he’s run at Lone Star, Del Mar, Keeneland, Churchill, Sunland, Oaklawn, Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, Aqueduct, and now Saudi Arabia. He was a millionaire before Saturday’s win, but obviously his bank account went up 10 times that with just a couple minutes of running. He’s a very cool story, and I hope we get to see him race the rest of the year.

The only other race I got to watch from Saudi Arabia on Saturday was the Derby, as I wanted to see how Book’em Danno would fare. We saw him dominate here at Tampa Bay Downs a month ago, and trainer Derek Ryan said right after that win that this was the race they were shooting for. I think he knows he has a sprinter or miler on his hands, and it appears the Kentucky Derby (G1) was never their goal. It’s always great to see when a trainer knows what they have and try to play to their horse’s strength. I never begrudge anyone taking a shot on the Derby trail, but it seems he knows his horse well. Book’em Danno certainly lost nothing in defeat in that race, and if we see him at the Pat Day Mile (G2) or something like that on Derby day, he’ll no doubt be a huge contender.

So let’s turn the page to a big week ahead. The Fountain of Youth S. (G2) looms, and the slightly delayed return of Locked to the races will be one of the questions for players this race. I’ll have Gulfstream Park analyst Brian Nadeau on my show on Tuesday to discuss the race a little bit and Gulfstream Park in general.

Everyone have a good week!