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Homeracing

Jason Beem's Thursday Column for Oct. 27, 2022

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October 27th, 2022

A good Thursday morning to you all! Next Thursday I’ll do some Breeders’ Cup selections, which you should most likely ignore because of my history at doing terrible during this event. But, it’s fun to make our picks each year, so we shall do that.

Today I thought it would be fun to write about some of my favorite Breeders’ Cup memories. So without further ado, here are some of my favorite memories ever from the Breeders’ Cup.

Personal Ensign, 1988

I was born in 1980, so I was eight years old when Personal Ensign won the ‘88 Distaff. I feel like I have a vague memory of it as a kid, but I’m sure it’s more from watching the replay 100 times over the years.

I recently did an interview for Paulick Report where they asked several of us racecallers what we thought was the best Breeders’ Cup racecall. I think you can argue Tom Durkin’s call of Personal Ensign is up there. “Here’s Personal Ensign, unleashing a furious rally down the center of the course.” I watched that replay today, and I still don’t think she’s going to get there. But she does. What a champion.

Black Tie Affair, 1991

This one I do have a strong memory of. My dad was working Saturdays at the time, and he came and woke me up before he left to ask me who I liked in the Breeders’ Cup. I rolled over and whispered “Black Tie Affair.” Dad came home and had bet a few bucks on Black Tie Affair, and I got to keep the $10 he paid.

I remember how shocked and excited he was that I had picked the winner. Years later, I came to learn the story of Black Tie Affair and his trainer Ernie Poulos, who was a trainer in the Chicago area and won with this horse of a lifetime for him.

2004 Breeders’ Cup at Lone Star

I think this one is still my favorite Breeders’ Cup as a whole. I loved that it was run at Lone Star Park. I really do miss the rotation of tracks from the earlier years of the Breeders’ Cup.

It hasn’t been outside of Kentucky or California since 2007, and I really do wish other tracks got to host the event. But I digress.

Part of why I love the 2004 Breeders’ Cup is because it was easily my best betting Breeders’ Cup. I clobbered Singletary and loved Ghostzapper, and had a few signers after the Classic.

I’m sure the money was all blown betting Calder simulcast the next week, but it was fun while it lasted. Ghostzapper’s run, of course, is still the signature of that event, as it should be. What a horse.

Zenyatta, 2010

I know it’s odd to pick the race that she lost as the memory of her, but it’s always the race I think of first when I think of her.

Most of her races, you knew she was going to come and get them. And she always did. But at no point in the first 80% of that 2010 Classic did I think she was going to win. First time by the grandstand I was worried she was going to get pulled up.

But when she kicks out at the top of the lane and Trevor Denman announces she is making her move, I still get chills. I know that second-place finish wasn’t the Cinderella ending that everyone wanted, but I always thought she was so valiant in that race that she did nothing to damage her legacy.

2017 Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar

This remains the only Breeders’ Cup I’ve ever attended in person, so it will always have a special place in my memory. It was a glorious weather weekend and my first time at Del Mar. I had been kind of a shut-in the previous few years, so it was amazing to get to see and meet so many people.

One memory I’ll never forget is when the Filly & Mare Sprint field ran by us, the guy next to me looked down at his program and said, “Who in the heck is Bar of Gold?” At the time, I don’t think I had an answer for him.

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