Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem July 25, 2022

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July 25th, 2022

A good Monday morning to you all! A surprise Monday off for us here at Colonial as the weather got extremely warm this weekend so we’ve cancelled the Monday program. Back at it Tuesday. This past Saturday was such a classic summer weekend of big races, big stories, and some big payouts across the country. Saw one person on my timeline popped the Saratoga Friday Early Pick 5 for $105,000! Unreal score.

This year’s Haskell Stakes (G1) I thought turned out to be a very compelling race with a thrilling finish. The odds had four clear top contenders, and I thought each of them had very compelling runs and storylines in this race.

Cyberknife got the win, getting through inside under what I thought was a really good ride from Florent Geroux. Every year there seems to be a couple of “second half” three-year-olds, and Cyberknife may just be one of those. Taiba accounted himself very well in defeat in what was Bob Baffert’s first big race back east after his suspension. Taiba was made the morning line favorite thinking the Baffert support would come in at the windows, but it was Jack Christopher who ended up going off a strong favorite, as many had predicted.

Chad Brown said on Sunday he thought that the distance might have been what did Jack Christopher in at the Haskell and that they’d point to the Allen Jerkens Stakes at seven furlongs next at Saratoga on Travers Day. I actually would like to see them try him one more time going long just because it’s not like he got crushed at this nine-furlong distance and he was beaten by two decent horses. But Chad certainly knows better than I do.

White Abarrio was the obvious mystery performance of the group. He was pushed somewhat hard out of the gate but looked like he had no real shot to be up with the leaders early. Even down the backstretch, he just looked like he wasn’t traveling like a horse that was going to be a contender late in the race. His connections indicated on Twitter that they would be taking some time off, which after the long Derby trail and running a couple of times after that, makes a fair bit of sense.

After getting to fill in at Monmouth Park in 2019, I’ve followed Monmouth a lot more closely. It’s such a fun place to spend a day at the races, and the on-track crowd on a big day is very electric. So I was happy to see they had a successful Haskell.

Last thing I want to mention is a quick remembrance of my dad. Yesterday was the 21st anniversary of his passing and, of course, anytime I think about him, it involves memories of going to the track.

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My dad and I at Arlington Park in 1995

I told a few stories of him at the races back on Father’s Day, but I thought of one yesterday that made me smile. It was 1995 and we were in suburban Chicago for the 15 year-old CABA World Series for baseball and my dad was our coach. We had a game scheduled for 5 p.m., so Dad drove us out to Arlington Park to play the races in the afternoon. Well, it was getting ready for time to leave, and dad played one last bet for the road. I forget why, but there was some kind of delay, a re-shoeing or something. Anyway, dad hit his bet and we ran to the windows to cash and then get out because it’s getting close to when we need to be there for the game. Chicago traffic had other ideas.

We got stuck in a bad traffic jam and ended up getting to the game about 45 minutes later than we wanted to. We pulled in literally 5 minutes before the game was to start. We got dressed in the parking lot and ran down to the field, and my dad told his assistant coaches and the parents that the car battery had died. RIP Dad.