Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem March 4, 2024

March 4th, 2024

A good Monday morning to you all! Well, that was a strange weekend, wasn’t it? So many exciting races lined up, and I think I even said on last week’s show, “We’ll have a much clearer idea on the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Oaks (G1) pictures after this weekend.” Well, we don’t. It seems like the scratches started on Friday and continued into Saturday. I had just got home when the Fountain of Youth (G2) was about to be run and when I heard the analyst start talking about the scratch of Speak Easy, I just started laughing. I mean, what else can you do?

I understand in this game there are going to be weird days, weird races, big letdowns, big excitement, all of it. Part of what makes racing so great is it’s so unpredictable. It takes a lot to get a horse to the races, let alone to the ones you really want to win. I can’t imagine what it’s like being a trainer or owner or even rider of a big horse and going into that stall every morning just hoping that everything is OK. Horses have a great way of injuring themselves just by existing, it seems. So when your livelihood and career depends on them staying healthy and happy, I just imagine it’s a taxing part of the job.

It seems as though the Derby is taking more shape than the Oaks at this point, and I wonder where exactly we might see Just F Y I next when she does come back. I also am curious if any of the horses who scratched at Gulfstream from the Fountain of Youth might come back at Tampa Bay Downs this weekend for our Derby. I think as of now, Sam F. Davis (G3) winner No More Time and Fair Grounds' big maiden winner Drip are the two big names. Come on, Todd, let’s see Locked over here on the Gulf Coast next Saturday!

Santa Anita ended up moving their Big Cap day to Sunday and while I’m not sure how it compared to previous years on handle, it did seem as though having Sunday to themselves in terms of big stakes action there was a little more buzz on my socials about it. The San Felipe (G2) ended up featuring just four horses after Nysos scratched. Part of me thinks they entered him just to scare off other challengers, but I also don’t know what other challengers there are down in Southern California right now for that division. I’ve maintained for many years now, and will continue to say it, that dominance in horse racing is a bad thing. It does the game no good at all and that goes for all circuits, not just Southern California. It’s a shame to see races like that run because Santa Anita is such a cool track.

Of all the big races this weekend, I think R Calli Kim’s win in the The Very One S. (G3) was a standout for me. We had her owner, Rich Averill, on the podcast a couple weeks ago and talked about this horse. He spoke about how the foundations of his program are to have Florida-bred sprinters, particularly fillies. And here he’s having this great success with a horse who seemingly can go any long distance and still provide a powerful late kick. She was pretty far behind and spotted some other horses first run, but her kick down the lane was just far too much for them.

So after a weird week, hopefully all the weirdness shakes off as we approach our big weekend here at Tampa Bay Downs. I feel like this year, this race has kind of snuck up on me and I’m looking forward to getting to call the big day. I’m mostly looking forward to the day after, though. Sunday after Tampa Bay Derby Day is always my favorite announcing day of the year. No pressure, the big races are done, just good, old fashioned fun race-calling.

Everyone have a great week!