Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem Oct. 24, 2022

October 24th, 2022

A good Monday morning to you all! Have we officially turned the corner into Breeders’ Cup season? I think sort of? I feel like by Thursday I’ll be ready to start the Breeders’ Cup festivities, including in my Thursday column. But today I wanted to write about my trip to Oklahoma City this past weekend to attend the races at Remington Park as well as call the races there on Saturday night.

So, let me first start with just Oklahoma City as I got to spend part of Saturday afternoon walking around downtown. I met some friends for lunch and the downtown area was very nice and not crowded at all. Now it was a Saturday, but it was quiet and parking was super easy to find. After lunch, we walked over to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, which is very well done, and I’d highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area.

I spent all of Friday at Remington Park as a customer and fan for Oklahoma Classics night. There was a very good crowd on hand and the atmosphere was awesome. Night racing always has a little more electricity running through the crowd, and Friday was no exception. I walked around most of the night enjoying the races and trying to discover all the nooks and crannies of the facility. I had dinner at the Bricktown Brewery restaurant within the track, and it was one of the better meals I’ve ever had at a racetrack. Highly recommend it. I’ve debated the topic of best racetrack food with a few people over the years, and I think the Vessels Club at Los Alamitos is still atop my list, but Bricktown is now way up there as well for casual food.

As a racing fan, one thing I liked about the facility was that the racetrack is the star, not the casino. Some tracks you walk in and immediately are tackled by the annoying bells and whistles of slot machines. At Remington, you kind of deliberately have to be seeking out the casino to find it. At many modern racinos, it’s the racetrack that takes some detective work to find.

Saturday night, I got to fill in announcing for Dale Day, which was a blast. They threw me a softball for the first race with a small-field dirt sprint, which was honestly nice just to have an easy warm-up after not calling races for a month and a half.

The second race they weren’t so kind! All three turf races on Saturday featured early paces that fell apart and closers coming from all parts of the track. I won’t speak for other announcers, but those to me end up being potentially the hardest finishes to call and one of the easier times to screw something up. Lucky for me the booth at Remington is very close to the finish line, so calling a couple of photos was easy.

Another highlight of the weekend was getting to sit with perennial leading owner Danny Caldwell and his group for a bit and watch a race with them. Their horse ended up finishing second after not the most wonderful of trips, but it’s always interesting to watch a race with an owner because they obviously have so much investment in the race. Danny has won over 1,100 races as an owner, which is kind of insane considering he really started owning horses in 2007.

One of my favorite things about getting to see new racetracks, aside from just the experience of going, is seeing the community involved at each of these tracks — meeting the placing judges and chart callers and marketing people. I think sometimes you watch a simulcast signal and you see the TV analyst and hear the announcer, but that’s about it. So it’s very, very cool to get to meet all the people who make a track go and the horseplayers who play there. Thanks, Remington Park!