Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem June 10, 2024

June 10th, 2024

A good Monday morning to you all! Triple Crown season is now officially in the books, and like always, a million twists and turns, heartbreaks and thrills, are all now in the rearview. 

I know the road to the Kentucky Derby (G1) starts late in the fall the year before, but to me it always really starts with the Lecomte (G3). I don’t know why I’ve made that my official starting point, but for me it’s truly when it feels like the beginning of the journey. So to wrap it up, let’s look back at road that took us through Dornoch’s win last Saturday. 

I really do think the best horse of the group is one that didn’t win any of the Triple Crown events. Sierra Leone to me possesses the most talent of any of the three year-old males we’ve seen so far in 2024. I’m open to the idea that Forever Young could have that title, but for now, I really do think Sierra Leone is the cream of the crop. However, his running style and his apparent love for drifting in and causing chaos in the stretch are obviously very concerning. 

Well before my official Lecomte starting point, Fierceness was the favorite for the Kentucky Derby. His Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) win was incredible, and up until he laid a bit of an egg in the Holy Bull (G3), I think he was most people’s favorite. Sierra Leone took the crown from him for a bit with his Risen Star win but Fierceness took it right back with that eye-popping Florida Derby (G1) score. Fierceness certainly flashed more brilliance than anyone on the trail this year and was deserving of his favorites role in the Kentucky Derby. 

None of those horses won any of the big three races though. Mystik Dan, Seize the Grey, and Dornoch are the ones who will go down in the record books as winning the three American classics. I think the themes of their wins might all be good trips. Which isn’t saying much; that’s the theme of a lot of horse racing wins. Mystik Dan was so brilliantly guided through gauntlet that is a Kentucky Derby trip by Brian Hernandez Jr. and maybe that’s why "trip" stands out so much to me this year. 

I really enjoyed the entire Belmont-at-Saratoga event from afar. It certainly didn’t feel like a "Belmont" but it wasn’t supposed to. It really just felt like a big day at Saratoga more than anything. But Saratoga is great and I understand that this is a temporary thing. I saw a lot of talk that they should make this a permanent thing, but I can’t imagine that they’re rebuilding all of Belmont Park only to not host it’s signature event there. But it’s horse racing, anything can happen. 

So we move into the summer. Horses will be back at Saratoga in another month. Del Mar will race along the Pacific Ocean and in Virginia we’ll kickstart another summer at Colonial Downs. The racing season never really stops but this always feels like a shift once the Triple Crown reaches its end point. We move into humidity season. I kid, I kid. I always think before the Derby "we only have so many of these left in our lifetimes, so cherish it." Of course, we don’t know how many we all have and that always feels like all the more reason to note the specialness of those races. 

Everyone have a great week!