Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem June 6, 2022
A good Monday morning to you all! Excited to kick off Belmont Stakes week and what really has become one of the absolute best days of racing on the calendar. I know many folks don’t like that the Met Mile was moved off of Memorial Day, but with all the stakes loaded onto the one card Saturday, including the Met Mile, it should be an awesome Saturday.
I spent this past Saturday out at Churchill Downs once again, and what a doozy of a card it was. It was Stephen Foster Preview Day, so the card was filled with $200,000 stakes races, most serving as preps for the Steven Foster day card that comes up on July 2. It’s been a blast getting to go to Churchill Downs most race days this spring and really feel connected to the meet.
So often as horseplayers, we play a variety of tracks and have our focuses. We might watch Tampa one day, Gulfstream the next, and Turfway after that. But being on track and really digging into a meet is a very fun experience.
Now, that being said, my opinions Saturday at Churchill stunk. The only thing I was right on was trying to beat McKulick in the Grade 3 Regret S., which Walkathon and Julien Leparoux took care of. That win was actually Julien’s 1000th career victory at Churchill Downs, which now ranks him fifth in career victories under the twin spires.
I saw a breakdown of Julien’s career wins and was pretty amazed that he has 508 career wins at Keeneland, which obviously runs fewer days than Churchill and can be sometimes a more loaded jockey colony. Regardless, congratulations to Julien on a great achievement.
My two favorite performances from Saturday came when Microcap won the fourth race and when Admission Office took home the Grade 3 Arlington S. Microcap is trained by Grant Forster, who is a trainer I’ve known since back in the early 2000s when we were both at Emerald Downs. Fun fact, my first job in horse racing was as a media assistant at Emerald Downs in 2004. I believe Grant actually had the same position at one time a few years earlier before going off into his training career.
Grant is one of horse racing’s great guys, and one of the cool things he does here in Louisville is host many parties for friends in the racing industry at his place, which is very close to Churchill Downs. I stopped by Grant’s crawfish boil party on Memorial Day last week and got to crack mud bugs with many Churchill trainers, jockeys, as well as famed racing media people, like Ed DeRosa. One of my biggest scores came as a result of when Grant won the 2005 Longacres Mile with No Giveaway, who was 60-1, so that could be another reason why I always root for him.
Admission Office’s win in the Arlington S. was an upset at 7-1, and the fashion in which he did it also seemed a longshot turning for home, as Get Smokin had cruised up front through pretty moderate fractions. I remember Admission Office used to have a really incredible turn of foot, but he’d been off for over a year and, honestly, it just always seemed like he left himself with too much to do late to get up and win. But his trainer, Brian Lynch, has been pushing all the right buttons so far this meet at Churchill Downs, and Admission Office roared home late to get up and win the Arlington. Brian indicated after the race that a trip to the Arlington Million later this summer at Churchill Downs might be in the cards.
I’ll be back on Thursday with selections and thoughts on the Belmont S., so I’ll look forward to seeing you back here then on the TwinSpires Edge. Join us this week on my podcast, where I’ll welcome in analyst and former jockey Kali Francois as well as jockey Erica Herrforth, who just won her first career race here at Churchill Downs the other week.