Jason Beem's Thursday Column for Sept. 29, 2022
A good Thursday morning to you all! Very excited to be back writing and podcasting after my vacation and the idea of ‘taking a break’ is what I want to talk about in today’s column. It’s always a funny topic to speak about because my entire job is essentially to create content to entertain racing fans as well as hopefully educate and create more fans. So is telling people to take the occasional break a conflict of my interests?
I say no. I think when it comes to the education or promotion of the game of horse racing, for me I want to help create fans and horseplayers who have the tools for success in this very challenging game. I believe a part of the successful player is knowing when to take a break and get refreshed. Truthfully, I think that applies to almost every job or hobby.
Racing for me is my livelihood but it’s also my community and my passion. It’s not just something I do on days I’m working, it’s something I follow on my days off or just when I’m scouring social media. For 50 weeks a year, racing is a major part of my daily life. So every September after Colonial Downs ends, I take my two-week vacation from work. But I also take a two-week vacation from racing. I try to shut it off as much as I can. I take twitter off of my phone. I don’t watch races. I try not to even hear about racing news. I want fully away from it for two weeks.
The result of that is coming back fresh into things. Sure the first couple days it’s actually a little weird hopping back into it because I’m freshly used to not watching it for a bit. However on Wednesday when I went to look at the races for our weekend preview podcast, I gotta admit, I was fired up to crack open my Brisnet past performances.
Freshness is certainly one positive aspect to taking a break from the races. By the end of Colonial Downs’ last week, if I saw another past performance I’d have likely thrown my computer at the window. Handicapping and horseplaying is a grind and it’s a huge investment of time and effort. And without both of those things, it’s very difficult to be successful in this game whether as a horseplayer or even an industry participant like myself.
Another thing about this great game and hobby that we share is it is not only an investment of time and money. It’s an investment of emotion. Horse racing is an emotional game full of swings that feature the highest of highs and the toughest of beats. What other hobby can you miss out on a month’s salary because of the nose of a horse?
We know that trainers, jockeys, grooms, owners, and most participants in the game are very passionate and emotional about it. They pour their blood, sweat, and tears into their profession and this game. I think sometimes it’s not appreciated just how much horseplayers invest emotionally into the game.
Most horseplayers I know have a genuine love and appreciation for our equine athletes. They love them. But they also have a great love for the amazing puzzle that is wagering on horses. That love is sometimes a mixture of pride, ego, and vanity. But it’s also one of personal discipline, contesting against your peers, and ultimately hoping to be triumphant. And maybe make some cash. But betting on horses is a very big emotional investment for players.
It’s those reasons why I always advocate for folks to take some time at some point in the year away from the game. Get your head right. Come back to racing fresh and ready to tackle the card in front of you. Have your brain fully ready for the wagering warfare you’re about to take part in. I really do think it will help make you a better player.