Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem for Feb. 13, 2023

February 13th, 2023

A good Monday morning to you all! Busy weekend for us here in Tampa with the Sam F. Davis Stakes card on Saturday. I was battling strep throat all weekend but with a good regimen of tea antibiotics, and cough drops, I got through the big Saturday card and am on the mend. Truth be told, I was much more nervous for the Suncoast Stakes than I was the Sam F. Davis just because of the matchup of Wonder Wheel and Julia Shining.

As we all know in horse racing, there are no sure things and it’s amazing how often that reminder is given to us. I’m rarely a scripter of racecalls or lines, but I always try to think of some things to say if logical things do play out. So with Wonder Wheel and Julia Shining matching up, I had an idea of how I wanted to describe it if they hooked up at the top of the stretch and battled home. And at the quarter pole, I thought that was exactly what was going to happen. That’s not to say I was rooting for it to happen, it just looked like they were both coming up after the leaders, and it was the most logical way for that race to finish up.

One of the reasons I don’t like to script calls is just because of what happened. In my head for a second, I started thinking about what to say if Wonder Wheel and Julia Shining did start to edge away. And as soon as I did that, Dreaming of Snow kicked back on the inside. By the eighth pole, I knew it was now a race between the longshot and the favorite. So I just called it as it happened, which is really my preferred way to do my job.

It reminded me of the 2019 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park. It was Maximum Security’s first race back from his Kentucky Derby (G1) disqualification, and it figured to be an easy win for him. King For a Day had other ideas. But I remember at the five-sixteenths pole thinking “well, so much for the easy win,” and threw out all the lines I had planned in case he did win.

It’s one of the great things about our sport. Literally anything can and will happen, even when you least expect it. As my buddy Inside the Pylons once said to me, “Is there really ever a 1-9 shot in racing?” He was talking about all the things that can happen in a horse race and how you can lose.

Every once in a while you’ll see people talk about trying to do a show parlay, and they think they can get 95 out of 100. And I’ve never once seen anyone make it to 100 with only five or fewer misses. The last guy I saw try it said he’d get 97 out of 100, and he missed three by like race 22. It’s just a game founded on uncertainties.

That really is one of the beauties of the game, though. On any given day, any horse can be beat. I’ve been talking a lot lately on the podcast about how bad dominance is for horse racing. If the same connections and horses win every race and have every good horse, it not only makes the races less interesting, it makes them less interesting to bet. I suppose races like the Suncoast this weekend or even last year’s Kentucky Derby serve as good reminders that in a horse race most anything can and often will happen.

One betting thing of note, I was a guest on another podcast last week and we talked a lot about the Tampa late Pick 5.  An interesting thing occurred in that sequence. The two most likely singles, Caramel Swirl in the seventh race and Wonder Wheel in the ninth, both lost. The other three legs were won by a favorite and two second choices. The sequence paid over $30,000.

On Thursday, I’m going to write about “thinking pari-mutuelly,” and this was one of those great examples. If you can be right where most people are wrong, your payout opportunities go up so much.

Granted, it wasn’t easy to get to the winner of the Suncoast, but if you thought both favorites were beatable in that race, you almost had to go with everyone else because anyone other than Wonder Wheel and Julia Shining was going to yield a big payout.

Look forward to chatting about that more on Thursday.