Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem Oct. 16, 2023

October 16th, 2023

A good Monday morning to you all! Hope everyone had a good weekend. I figured, since in last Thursday’s column I wrote about my favorite old war horses, we should probably give some attention to Channel Maker, who was retired after his run in Friday’s Sycamore (G3). His career spanned eight seasons and, all told, he brought in just shy of $4 million to his owners. It’s crazy to think he was making his debut just after Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby (G1). I had just started my podcast earlier that year, and that seems like an eternity ago. 

Congratulations should go out to everyone associated with this horse, who kept him healthy and happy and racing at such a high level for so long. I don’t know if Channel Maker is a Hall of Famer, but the resume he put up is pretty incredible, including four Grade 1 victories. There was a time where it seemed like every turf route in New York would feature Channel Maker and Sadler’s Joy as contenders against one another. 

I think as handicappers and horseplayers, we all have that horse or horses that we just never seem to be on the right side of in our opinions. Channel Maker was one of those horses for me. Every week, we’d discuss whatever race he was in on the show, and if I tossed him then you could count on him running a big one. When I thought it was going to be his day, he’d backpedal through the field. He was always remarkably frustrating in that regard for me personally. 

I think sometimes connections in racing are a little too sensitive when people play against their horse or have an opinion against their horse because they don’t separate their belief and love of their horse and our wagering opinions. So often on the show, when Channel Maker would run the opposite of how I thought he would, I would share my frustrations about him to the listening audience. I would lament and talk about how frustrating he was to me. But that should never be confused with me not liking him as a horse or appreciating the incredible career he’s had. I never liked Tom Brady when he played, but you better believe I know how great he was. Same thing.

Speaking of things I sometimes complain about but that are still pretty great — Cheers to the state-bred days and in particular Maryland Million Day this past weekend at Laurel. The reason I complain about them is because often state-bred days are small fields filled with likely-winning chalk, and they just aren’t that interesting. 

Maryland Million Day was loaded with big fields, and there were some really exciting races and upsets as well. These state-bred days are often massive opportunities for the owners and breeders who invest into these state-bred programs to get a big chunk of money back against restricted runners. These few weeks between the last round of preps and the Breeders’ Cup is kind of the time for state-breds to take center stage, as many tracks will conduct those cards across the country. 

Everyone have a great week!