Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem Dec. 19, 2022

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December 19th, 2022

A good Monday morning to you all! Excited to get the holiday week started and our first four-day week of racing here at Tampa Bay Downs. We raced Christmas Eve last year and are doing so again, and it was actually quite fun. I believe last year it was just Gulfstream Park and us running that daytime, so hopefully it’ll be a welcome distraction for those looking for some horse racing distraction instead of family time or last-minute shopping! 

Wanted to give a shout to the very cool Rated R Superstar in today’s column as he scored another stakes win on Saturday night at Remington Park in the Jeffrey Hawk Memorial S. At the tender age of nine, he’s just wrapped up the best year of his career, with four wins and over $600,000 in earnings and pushed his career earnings to just shy of $1.8 million. In recent years he’s done a lot of his winning at Remington and Oaklawn, but he’s won at seven different tracks in his career dating back to his Ellis Park back in 2015. In fact Rated R Superstar began his career just a month or so after American Pharoah won the Triple Crown. Feels like half a lifetime ago. 

We so often have the debate about whether or not our favorite horses stuck around longer, the game would be more popular or more successful. I think most people agree it’s good for the game when we get to see the superstars compete more on track before they head off to retirement. So of course it’s good that we have this superstar still running at age nine. I first remember Rated R Superstar coming onto my radar winning the Essex at Oaklawn Park. He had been a stakes winner before that, but I just don’t seem to have much memory of him prior to the Essex. 

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Rated R Superstar winning the 2022 Essex H. at Oaklawn Park (Photo by Coady Photography)

There’s just something about a deep closer who makes that big move to win that I think draws interest from people. Plus, he really does have a great name. As a racecaller, there are just some horses and connections' names that are just more fun to say. I’ve never gotten to call him, but it has to be a lot of fun to call “Rated R Superstarrrrrr!” I remember Luke Kruytbosch telling me at Churchill Downs once that he used to always give mention to the former starter there, Roger Nagle, just because his name was so fun to say. I can still hear Luke saying “Rrrrroger Nagle on the button.” Some horses and names just have that, and Rated R certainly does. 

Another cool angle to this horse’s career was that he’s had success for several different connections. He started out with Kenny McPeek who had him for a few seasons including guiding him to a win in the Carry Back S. (G3). Then onto the barn of Cipriano Contreras who took him and won a stakes at Oaklawn. Current owner Danny Caldwell, the perennial leading owner at Remington Park, claimed Rated R Superstar for $50,000 back in January of 2021. Since then, Rated R Superstar has earned $899,257. Not a bad return on investment for the claim. 

Rated R Superstar is a gelding which of course precludes him from breeding, but it also precludes him from an early retirement for breeding purposes. We get to continue to enjoy this old throwback and see him on the track giving his all. It’s a cool thing and something worth celebrating, so cheers to the soon to be 10-year-old Rated R Superstar.