Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem July 24, 2023

July 24th, 2023

A good Monday morning to you all! Big weekend of racing in the books, and I felt like I could have talked for two or three hours about it on my weekend recap podcast. The Haskell was a bit of a surprise as 12-1 shot Geaux Rocket Ride disposed of his rivals quite easily to take down a big win. It was honestly pretty cool to see Mike Smith once again on board a Haskell winner.

Mage ran pretty well in defeat, and we’ll actually have one of his owners, Ramiro Restrepo, on the show this week to talk about the race and the future with this year's Kentucky Derby (G1) winner.

Here in Virginia it was fun to get back to announcing at Colonial Downs. Colonial is so much fun as a racecaller because with all the turf racing and often some big fields, it presents a really fun challenge each day at work. Took a few races to feel comfortable in the booth off the spring layoff, but by Saturday I was feeling like I was “seeing the ball” well.

I did have one line I wish I could take back, though. One funny thing about racecalling is that things go from your brain to your mouth so quickly that you don’t really have time to think about it, you kind of just have to trust your brain. Well, we had a horse who on paper looked like a speed horse and when I got to him, he was last early on. I said that he “should be up front but he’s at the back.” I cringed immediately because I had meant to say something to the effect of “he’s normally up front.” Saying he “should be up front,” which, although kinda true, came off like I was criticizing the ride or the tactics when the horse might have just had a bad start and I didn’t see it. Either way, sorry to the connections for the mini gaffe.

The highlight of the racing week for me was getting to watch and enjoy the big cards at Del Mar. All three days of opening weekend were loaded with tons of full fields, some price chances, and just good competitive racing. It’s so fun to get to tackle races and sequences where there feels like some real chances at prices and value. The repetitive beating of six-horse fields we get at so many tracks these days just makes it so hard for players to find that value, especially at the current rake of horse racing. So Del Mar was a welcome breath of fresh air, and it was really fun.

Anisette might have been the performance of the weekend down at Del Mar in winning the San Clemente (G2). I was already tucked into bed and watching here in Virginia when she darn near ran off the screen, destroying her rivals.

That was just her second start domestically, and I haven’t seen what any of the figures came back, but boy, did she pass the eye test for me. Just finished so strong.

Del Mar’s stretch run is shorter than most standard mile tracks, and on the turf it just seems like you’re so much better off losing some ground than you are getting stopped or losing any kind of momentum. With the big fields, there’s a lot of crowding in those grass races sometimes and I know for myself, I’d much prefer my rider try to go over the top and get beat than get shut off in a big crowd. Of course, check back with me if a horse I like goes wide and gets beat a head.

All in all it, really does feel like summer is here and in full swing. Colonial Downs always feels like summer camp of sorts and now with a week under my belt here, I finally feel back into the swing of living in Virginia. I’m hoping to get to Saratoga for a race day at some point this summer. I’ve still never been to Del Mar for the races during the summer meet; that’s certainly on my list.

Everyone have a great week!