Thursday Thoughts with Jason Beem Jun. 20, 2024

June 20th, 2024

A good Thursday morning to you all! The other day I was mindlessly scrolling Twitter and came across an interesting thread. The poster said “nobody understands the lifelong bond between a boy and the mediocre Major League Baseball player he watched when he was ten.” I immediately laughed and thought about how true that statement is. I mean Spike Owen, Darnell Coles, Alvin Davis, those guys are favorites of mine forever! Nostalgia is a powerful thing and most things in life just don’t seem as cool as they were when we were 10. 

Of course, this thread got me thinking whether the same is true about horse racing, and speaking for myself, it absolutely is. You ask me to name 10 claiming horses from my first couple of years at River Downs and I’d struggle. You ask me to name 10 from 1990 at Longacres and I’ll give you double that no problem. I think at that age everything just seems bigger and more important. You haven’t learned the difficulties of life that adulthood brings on. So when your horse loses, it sticks with you. Just as when they win it’s the most exciting feeling to ever wash over you. 

Why do random or even just moderately successful players or horses stick with us from our childhood? I don’t spend my day thinking about Sneakin Jake or Kent Green, but any time their names pop up, or a discussion of favorite horses of yesteryear pop up, they’re two of the first ones to spring to mind. So that being said, let me tell you about my real two mediocre horses from childhood that I have a lifelong bond with. 

Grandstand Gabe was a Florida-bred who started his career down at Calder, literally about as far away from Longacres as you could get. He took a while to break his maiden but he fared all right in Florida and then a little better when he went to Thistledown to run in his three-year-old year. He went back to Florida for a bit and then shortly after turning four, made the long van ride from Miami Gardens, Florida up to Yakima Meadows in Washington State. I’m fascinated to know what the connection was that got him up to Washington. But he got good when he got here. He started in allowance company but ended up running against stakes horses and back in 1990 Washington State, those were nice runners. 

My favorite horse ever was running then, Captain Condo. The Condo was a big gray and he came from off the pace. And a cooler horse there just has never been. One June day, my dad and I were at Longacres and I played an exacta, Captain Condo over Grandstand Gabe in the Space Needle Handicap. You can’t see the chart from this race on Equibase, but I’m almost positive it paid $44.20 for the $2 exacta. I rode my bike around our neighborhood replaying that race in my mind for weeks. Grandstand Gabe only ran at Longacres a few more times and never won a race after that second-place finish in the Space Needle. But he was always one of my favorites and will forever be on my list. 

The other mediocre horse from my childhood was Fascal Rascal. I know what you’re thinking, Fascal Rascal, what a great name. Fascal Rascal only ran three times at Longacres and none of them were good. I was only three and I just loved her name. My mom told me I used to ask my dad all the time if Fascal Rascal was running. After those first three efforts at Longacres, she ran exclusively in Alberta and won a couple of races, but was never much. Her career earnings were just over $5,000. But at some point in that spring of 1983, I got to meet Fascal Rascal. My dad was poker buddies with his trainer. I still have the picture of me on his back. A memory I’ll always cherish and I think if I ever own a horse and get to name it, I’ll name it Fascal Rascal. 

Have a great weekend everyone!