Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem March 11, 2024

March 11th, 2024

A good Monday morning to you all! Hope everyone had a good weekend and had some luck betting the races; at least the ones you could bet. Too soon? Saturday was certainly an interesting day to be a part of and if you want to hear my thoughts as a whole of the day and craziness that surrounded the tote issues on Saturday afternoon just before the Tampa Bay Derby (G3), take a listen to my podcast.

I try not to overlap the podcast and this column too much, as it’s my goal to get people to listen and read both. But, of course, sometimes the primary story of the weekend is just going to seep its way into both and when the primary story involves a track I work at, well, I suppose I have no choice. I mean, I could talk about the Beholder Mile (G1) or something, but I think we’ll keep things closer to the home.

As I said earlier, I did talk about Saturday’s card and the Tampa Bay Derby and all that went along with it on the show today. I shared my experience of the day, calling a non-wagering Kentucky Derby (G1) prep, and also some frustrations with the industry as a whole. I got home Saturday night and was honestly completely dejected. I put my phone on “do not disturb,” which it turns out does not prevent people from disturbing you. Even much of Sunday on Twitter and my own conversations involved discussing what happened, who was to blame, what could have been different, etc.

I taped the podcast first tonight and, honestly, talking about it on my own was remarkably cathartic. With the frustrations purged, I started to realize that I was letting all my emotions and frustrations be dedicated by an event beyond my own control, but also something that was just a lousy situation. I don’t want to make light of what happened because I understand how and why it was frustrating to so many people. It was frustrating for me. I just personally don’t want to let that control how I feel about myself as a person, my job performance, etc, because the two aren’t connected. And I was connecting them.

The Monday column is usually meant for a favorite part of the weekend for me, so let me talk about the Hillsborough S. (G2). It was a terribly slow pace to unfold, and Sparkle Blue and Jorge Ruiz found themselves on the lead without much pressure. Sometimes races like that go so slow that they allow the closers to be too close and get outkicked by horses whose best skill is to kick. I really thought Sparkle Blue was going to get passed just outside the 1/8th pole. Both Aspen Grove and Fluffy Socks looked to have momentum. But she dug in and got the win and even though it was a narrow margin, jockey Jorge Ruiz was pumping his whip in victory. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the biggest win of his career and his first Grade 2 score. Congratulations to him and all the connections on a win in our highest graded race that we offer at Tampa Bay Downs.

So it was a tough weekend, but it wasn’t without its good moments as well. Here’s to turning the page but also learning from what has happened.