Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem Oct. 2, 2023

October 2nd, 2023

A good Monday morning to you all! Welcome to October, and welcome back to me from vacation. Last year, I spent my vacation traveling all around the Pacific Northwest and visiting family and friends. This year, I basically just did yard work and hung around here in Clearwater, but it was a good little rest, nonetheless.

I wrote in my final column before the break about the importance of taking a break sometimes from racing. It’s such a dedication of emotions and effort to be a full-time participant in this game that sometimes we just have to get away. I remember working back at Portland Meadows and we’d leave the track after a whole card and go to dinner, and all anyone would want to do was talk about the day’s races and the overnight for the next day.

I love horse racing and am so glad I get to talk about it and work in it as a career, but I also want to make sure I have parts of my life that are totally separate from it. I think finding a healthy balance that works for you is extremely important and will lead to better performance in general.

So all that said, it was completely fun to be back watching racing the last couple of days. All the stakes at Churchill, Santa Anita, and whatever we’re calling New York racing now has got me fired up for Breeders’ Cup. Last year was one of the most fun Breeders’ Cups I’d had in recent memories because I just hung out at the track with some friends. The Kentucky Derby (G1) is obviously a huge event, but to me the excitement of the Breeders’ Cup is all the great races and betting opportunities. I could care less about division honors and stuff like that being up for grabs; to me Breeders' Cup is all about being the best couple of betting days of the year.

One thing from this weekend that caught my eye was a rare double disqualification at Aqueduct in the Gallant Bloom S (G2). Now I only saw the race on replay and didn’t get to see all the head-ons so I’m not as fascinated with the decision as I am the reaction. Everyone I talked to hated it for one reason or another. Many thought the #1 was never winning the race so why is that horse the winner. Some didn’t think the DQ was warranted of the #6. But I do think the race brings up the debate again about our methods of stewards' enforcement and disqualifications.

I personally don’t have strong feelings one way or the other as far as Category 1 or Category 2 rules. I understand why people might prefer one or the other and as someone who isn’t a regular everyday horseplayer, I’m not really affected by DQs or inquiries that often, other than when I have to announce one and get yelled at about it on Twitter. 

I’m at the point where I just want whatever leads to fewer bad experiences for our customers and owners. I’ve talked about it on my show a lot before, but the more unnecessary negative experiences that our customers and owners have, the more frustrated and less likely to participate they will be. Of course, we can never stop the toughness of a bad beat or something like that, but better rules, proactivity when it comes to surface changes, and fewer bad rules in regards to wagering would do us a lot to prevent those sour moments from happening as often as they seem to.

Anyway, it’s great to be back, and I’m so looking forward to Keeneland getting underway and the build-up to the Breeders’ Cup. We’re still about eight weeks away from racing returning here in Tampa Bay, so I’ll be getting my fix mostly watching Kentucky and California action for the next little bit. 

Have a great week, everyone!