Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem Nov. 6, 2023
A good Monday morning to you all! Hope your Breeders’ Cup weekend was a fun and profitable one. I spent both days out at Tampa Bay Downs sitting with some buddies in the upstairs simulcast area, and it was a lot of fun. The convenience and ease of online betting is a wonderful addition to the horseplayer's arsenal, but, man, there is just nothing better than being around your horseplayer friends and chopping it up while watching the races.
Saturday was a mostly formful day and even though we recapped all of the races on today’s podcast, I didn’t think it was the most dramatic or surprising weekend of racing. I think how we remember a Breeders’ Cup as one of our favorites or memorable often is a very personal experience depending on whether we had a great day at the windows, or just a fan favorite of ours had a big day. I think some years and races can transcend that because of historical implications or just a great stretch battle, but I really do think how much we enjoy or don’t enjoy a particular Breeders’ Cup is pretty individual to how it went for us.
My opinions weren’t particularly great all weekend and while I was happy Proxy got up to finish third in the Classic, it was just the final of the many “eh, almost” races for me. But I thought for today’s column I’d write about some things I liked and didn’t like from this weekend’s big event.
For starters, it was very cool to hear my friend Pete Aiello get to call his first Breeders’ Cup races on Friday. Pete told me about it a few days before, and I thought he meant he was just going over there to call a couple of turf races, not the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile turf races. He did great, as did Frank and Larry. One of the very cool parts of getting older in this business has been watching friends reach personal milestones in their career, and calling a Breeders’ Cup race is one that not a whole lot of people have on their resume.
I also liked that the tracks both seemed pretty fair. The fractions weren’t bonkers, and horses seemed to be winning from different positions and running styles. There are few things more deflating than on a big day when the first few races are merry-go-rounds and the track profile just favors speed. So that was a welcome site.
The BCBC is one of the premier (probably the premier) horseplayer events out there, and I really wish there was more coverage of it on the big day. Online it always feels like this cool thing that’s happening and other than refreshing the scores, we don’t really know what’s going on. This year, they did post everyone's most recent wagers under their name, and there was also a little more content online with Emily Gullikson covering it. I really long for the day when we have full-out coverage of this event.
I did vocalize some of my gripes about the weekend on my podcast today, but I’ll repeat a few of them here that I wish were different. I hated the Classic not being last. The day already felt kind of long as an East Coaster, and I left Tampa Bay Downs after the Distaff and watched the rest at home. By the time the Sprint rolled around — a race with incredible history and importance — it felt like such an afterthought. I get why they’re doing it because of TV, but I just didn’t like it. I do think the day feels too long as it currently is, and I’m sure some of that is to service the big on-track crowd. But I wish it was five minutes tighter between races as opposed to the 40 minutes between post times all day.
Those were really my only two serious gripes, there’s other little stuff, but we racing fans can always find little stuff to complain about. Breeders’ Cup is now in the books but, of course, racing never stops as we roll into the meat of the Churchill fall meet, Del Mar fall, Fair Grounds, and, of course, Tampa Bay Downs just two weeks away!