Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem July 17, 2023

July 17th, 2023

A good Monday morning to you all! Writing today from Richmond, Virginia, where this past weekend racing got underway at Colonial Downs. Big thanks to my friend Travis Stone for calling the first weekend of racing, as I’ve been dealing with a health issue. It’s not really much better, but I think I’ll be fine to call the races going forward. Fingers crossed!

Speaking of calling the races, it was very cool to hear my friend Frank Mirahmadi get to call the races at Saratoga this past weekend. Sometimes it seems like it takes a while to get used to a new face or voice at a track when there is a switch on the broadcast team. You get used to watching the races with a particular voice, and it sometimes just takes a while to jell in your mind. But from the first race on Thursday, it seemed like Frank and Saratoga were a great fit.

I feel like there are so many things to write about today, but most of them aren’t good. It was a tough weekend for racing news, including the announcements of Golden Gate Fields closing at the end of the year. Golden Gate Fields is one of my favorite tracks to visit so like many fans, I’m very bummed about that and I do want to write about it at a later time.

Instead, I wanted to write about Funny Cide in light of his passing this weekend. The "Gutsy Gelding” was 23 years old and I think for a lot of racing fans was a favorite. His run through the Triple Crown series in 2003 was a memorable one between his connections, that bus, and the fact that he was a gelding.

Jockey agent to the stars Jose Santos Jr. shared his thoughts of Funny Cide’s passing and the importance of the horse in his life, as his father was the rider of both Funny Cide’s Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) wins. You can see that tweet HERE.

I saw someone on Twitter comment about how they didn’t like that when a person or horse passes away, that lots of people share their memories of the person or horse and maybe their connections. I found the comment so odd just because I think that’s how a lot of people process their sadness about a loss, by remembering the times when they were with us.

I personally enjoyed reading all the messages and memories of Funny Cide that were shared online yesterday. The horse meant something to people, and his journey was a marker in time for a lot of folks. People remember where they were when he won the Kentucky Derby. They might have been kids or in college. They may have been starting a career or just recently gotten into horse racing. He might have been their first big horse they followed.

Obviously, the grief is greater for those who were closest to the horse — the owner, jockey, trainer, grooms, assistants, and those who loved him for the last many years at the Kentucky Horse Park, as well as all those who got to visit him there. But I think one of the beauties of racing and the horses who race is as fans we can connect with them even through great distances. To me, that’s one of the great powers of the Thoroughbred is their ability to inspire and connect. Funny Cide certainly did that for a lot of people. Me included.

Everyone have a great week!