Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem July 4, 2022

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July 4th, 2022

A good Monday morning to you all and a happy Fourth of July. Writing to you today from beautiful Savannah, Georgia for the holiday weekend and have been really enjoying this city. Highly recommend if you’re ever passing through to make a visit. I feel like a lot of people I know when growing up had one friend or one family on their street who was way more into fireworks than everyone else. On this holiday, I always think of my friend Jamie from where I grew up. His dad would buy 10 times the fireworks of everyone else on the street combined. One time we got in trouble for trying to play baseball with Roman candles as the “pitcher.” Aw, good memories.

On the racetrack this weekend it seemed like we saw some very standout, albeit expected, performances. Life Is Good, Charge It, and Olympiad all dominated their respective races, and I feel like each of them kind of proved something different in doing so. Life Is Good was certainly the most known commodity of the three, and he effortlessly took home the Nerud at Belmont. I’d think with the presence of horses like Jackie’s Warrior at the sprinter distances, we’d be more likely to see Life Is Good stretch back out again in his next start. With the much ballyhooed Flightline expected to stay in California, I’d think Life Is Good would be pointed toward the handicap division races at Saratoga, like the Whitney or Woodward.

Olympiad also would be a likely candidate for the Spa this summer. His win on Saturday seemed to be a big validating statement. What’s funny is he’d been just as authoritative in all of his recent races, yet for me at least, this one seemed to be the one that felt like the big move forward. This was the, “I’m here and I mean business” effort. It’s uncanny how similar his five-race win streak looks both on video and on the past performances page. He sits second and stalks a leader, grabs the lead, and edges away from his competition to win by a couple lengths. Rinse. Repeat.

Charge It’s effort in the Dwyer felt like the arrival race of his career. Yes he ran a very good, albeit green, race in the Florida Derby. But this was a powerhouse performance and one I think is going to have people thinking of him as a top second-half three-year-old. I always tend to think that huge-margin wins like his 23-length Dwyer romp are usually a result of the combination of the winner running big and the losers running very poorly. I mean, is he really almost five seconds faster than that competition at that distance? Maybe? When the clear second choice, Nabokov, started to retreat going into the turn, I think it certainly aided in the huge margin. But even on just the eye test, I thought Charge It looked quite good.

The second half of the year is officially here, and it’s always so fun to see how the divisions develop and change as the year goes on. The top handicap horses back in the Pegasus time of year often aren’t the same ones by the time the Whitney and Breeders’ Cup Classic roll around. Will Epicenter, Early Voting, and Mo Donegal all be looking ahead at Charge It down the lane in the late-season Derbies? Will there be a new face on the three-year-old scene? Questions all to be answered in the coming months.