Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem Jan. 22, 2024

January 22nd, 2024

A good Monday morning to you all! Hope everyone’s weekend was good. So many cancellations this weekend around the country with the super cold temperatures, and it’s become interesting to see how upset people get when races get cancelled nowadays. I don’t remember the outrage being as bad a few years ago, but maybe it’s just with social media I see it more? I mean I suppose it’s good that people want to bet on the products and are passionate about wanting them to run, I guess I just understand why tracks might cancel when there are sub-freezing temperatures. 

As we saw with the Bills NFL game last week, it’s not always just the cold, but it’s the people who have to work outside and the transportation issues that can arise. Plus with horse racing, it’s also never been more crucial that equine safety is always the first and foremost decider when it comes to whether or not to run.

We certainly reaped the benefit of all of the cancellations here at Tampa Bay Downs, as we had sunshine and lots more people playing our races this weekend than we would have had New York or Arkansas been running. So, selfishly, I wasn’t mad about them taking a few days off. In all seriousness, though, hopefully everyone will get back to running soon.

Most eyes were glued to the Fair Grounds on Saturday. As big days sometimes do, it kind of chalked out with many logical results in the bigger races. I was talking to a friend from Fair Grounds before the card, and he was saying he was expecting the stakes to be logical but that the undercard represented some really good opportunities. First-time starters Bee Dancer and Ghalia Princess both spiced up the tote board a little, but unfortunately they were bookended by big favorites winning. I’d really love to see some stats on how favorites fare on track’s big days because it sure does seem like sometimes it’s a never-ending sea of them. On Friday at Tampa, favorites won seven of the nine races. It wasn’t all big-margin wins or anything, but the parade of chalk seemed never-ending. But as is often the case, the next two days were prices galore and on Sunday there were enough big-priced winners to create a Late Pick 5 carryover for Wednesday of $61,000. So that’ll be fun!

I’ve written in the past that big days are very hit or miss for me as far as enjoyment. When the big barns sweep through the races and it’s just a line of odds-on horses winning, it truly just does nothing for me. I recognize that they’re entitled to be in and win the race and that for some people there’s enjoyment in watching their favorite trainers or horses win, even if it’s just a total layup. But that will never be me. I’m always going to try to look for ways to beat horses like that but on those days where they’re clicking, it just becomes an exercise in futility. And I think for value players, it’s easy to get frustrated and annoyed. But I think it’s important to remember on those types of days that if you’re playing for prices and trying to make big scores, it’s only going to take a couple of those favorites to lose in a given sequence and, bam, things are back in gear.

Big weekends are pretty much from here on out until the springtime now, as we have the Pegasus coming up this weekend and Holy Bull (G3) right after that. Sam F. Davis Day, Risen Star, Fountain of Youth, and right into final Derby and Oaks preps. Quiet season is over. Things are about to pick up!