Thursday Thoughts with Jason Beem May 9, 2024

May 9th, 2024

A good Thursday morning to you all! I had a few topic ideas for this week’s Thursday thoughts column. Some weeks I’ll do one topic and others it might be more like this with just some general topics to discuss. So that being said, let’s go!

–I think most of us race fans are obviously hoping we get to see Mystik Dan in Baltimore this next week for the Preakness (G1). I think when Rich Strike didn’t go I was legitimately shocked just because it seemed like the Derby (G1) winner would always go. But the times have changed and even though I do think they’ll run, I won’t be surprised anymore if they elect to pass. I’ve not really had too strong of an opinion one way or the other if the Triple Crown should change it’s spacing. I think the events should be strong on their own regardless of who all shows up, but I understand the historical connection we’ve placed on them as a series. 

–I’m very curious if this weekend Kenny McPeek and Brian Hernandez Jr. get bet a little more at the windows because of their huge weekend? A few years ago after Rich Strike won the Derby we saw every long shot in the Preakness and Belmont (G1) take crazy money and go off at super underlaid prices. Wonder if we’ll see the same with the jock/trainer that took home the Oaks (G1) and Derby in a span of 25 hours?

–Our season at Tampa Bay Downs ended on Kentucky Derby day and it was an awesome day on track. The season always kind of ends quietly after the Tampa Bay Derby and Florida Cup day in March. But it was another fun season, handle ticked back up a bit from last season and field size most importantly jumped back up over 8 horses a race. So happy for some steps forward. It’s been such a fun place to not only work at the last three years, but to make my home here in Florida as well. One of the things that made me want to work here was that so many of the people have been working here for decades. There’s a small, family feel to working there that I don’t think is duplicated at many other racetracks. Feeling tons of gratitude that I get to work there and be a part of racing in Florida. 

–I’m heading to Baltimore on Thursday for the Preakness Stakes weekend and it’ll be the first time I’ve ever gone to a Triple Crown event. I’ve been to Churchill Downs for Tuesday of Derby week, but that’s as close as I’ve gotten to the big one. And I’ve been to Belmont Thursday of Belmont week, but work duties at Monmouth conflicted with going on Belmont Stakes day. I’ve watched all these events over the years as a fan so I’m curious what it’ll be like on track. My one big event I’ve been to was the Breeders’ Cup in 2017 at Del Mar and honestly I was shocked how much it felt like a regular day at the races. I mean, it felt special. But the lines weren’t crazy long and everything felt very accessible and available. I’ve been to Pimlico twice and both were weekdays so there was hardly any crowd at all there. So that’ll obviously be different next weekend. I’ll give you guys the full report here after next week! 

Have a good weekend!