Thursday Thoughts with Jason Beem May 23, 2024

May 23rd, 2024

A good Thursday morning to you all! Good to be settled back in at home after a week up at the Preakness (G1). I talked about my Preakness experience on this past Tuesday’s show and will share some of those thoughts here, as today is the Thursday Thoughts column. 

-As a whole, I had a great time at the Preakness. The electricity in the moments leading up to the race and the race itself were like nothing I’ve ever experienced at a live horse race in my life. I’ve been to the Breeders’ Cup once and that was in 2017 at Del Mar and while it was a fun event, the actual excitement and electricity wasn’t even close to what I witnessed last Saturday. As I said on twitter afterwards, it made me really want to see a Kentucky Derby (G1) in person someday because I can’t even imagine what that will be like. Someday! 

-I was very excited for jockey Jaime Torres to get such a big win in just his third year of riding horses. He had a big year in 2023 and is keeping that momentum going. I texted with his agent Liz Morris the morning of the Preakness as it was both of our birthdays. She said “hopefully I can win the Preakness as a birthday present.” Well happy birthday Liz! 

-In our little announcing corner of the world, it’s been fun to watch young Nathan Klein getting a chance to call some races at more and more tracks. Nathan is a student at the University of Arizona and last summer was an intern with us at Colonial Downs. When I first got into race calling it seemed like there were so many people trying to break in. My first few years I always got emails and letters for people who wanted to announce horse races and asked for advice on how to get started. Over the years those emails have stalled out to maybe one every couple of years. Maybe they just got smart and sent them to real announcers. But it makes me happy to have seen some new voices breaking into the game in recent years like Rob Tuel, Jessica Paquette, Anthony Stabile, Dustyn Stortzum, Kenny Livengood, Thomas Kearney and others. I have no doubt Nathan will add himself to the list as a regular racecaller upon his graduation from college. 

-Memorial Day is on Monday and even though it isn’t the big racing day it used to be, we still get some decent racing coming up. I think my favorite Memorial Day racing moment ever was watching Ghostzapper score in Met Mile back in 2005. It was his first start since his dominant Breeders’ Cup Classic win in 2004 and would end up being his last start as a racehorse. He ran only eleven times in his career but he won nine of those races and often did so in incredible style. If for some reason you haven’t watched any of Ghostzapper’s races in a while, go back and watch his 2003 Vosburgh (G1) as well as the 2003 King’s Bishop (G1) from Saratoga. The King’s Bishop was one of his two career losses but I swear he makes up like seven lengths in the last sixteenth of a mile to finish third and beaten only a half-length. He was truly incredible. 

I hope everyone has a good holiday weekend and gets to enjoy some sunshine and some racing. My Grandpa Chuck, who served in World War 2, used to tell me when I was a kid that on Memorial Day I should just stop what I’m doing for a minute and think about the sacrifice our brave soldiers who died fighting for us made. He would say “just really think about it for a minute. I think they’d appreciate that.” So I always do.