Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem Nov. 14, 2022

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November 14th, 2022

A good Monday morning to you all! I had a great lazy weekend watching racing from all around the country. Saturday I don’t think I left my couch or the TwinSpires website from noon to 6 p.m., and I’m OK with that! Obviously a quiet weekend in terms of the stakes racing action with the Breeders’ Cup still so close in the rearview mirror, but it was Claiming Crown day at Churchill Downs, and I enjoyed the races there.

The fallen snow on the turf course kind of added to the aesthetic, even though, obviously, frustrating not to be able to run those turf races with all the precipitation that Louisville got this weekend.

On Saturday while watching racing, I came across some news that a friend from the Washington racing scene, Victor Cozzetti, had passed away. Victor was a longtime handicapper and owner in Washington State, and worked and ran at Longacres, Yakima Meadows, Playfair, and, of course, Emerald Downs.

Bloodhorse covered Vic’s passing HERE if you want to read some of the details of his life. For this column, I thought I’d share some of my memories of Vic.

First of all, Vic had my favorite tout nickname of all time, Victor the Predictor. I mean seriously, how great is that name? As a young boy, my dad would send me out to the corner to pick up the Valley Daily News and then cut out both the entries for Longacres races and Victor the Predictor's picks. I also had to circle all the first-time Lasix horses because that was my dad’s favorite angle. So I knew about Vic since I was probably seven years old. I first met him about 17 years later.

In the winter of 2004, I had just moved back to the Seattle area after dropping out of Gonzaga Law School. I was having issues with panic attacks, but needed to find a job. I had zero idea of what my career was going to be since I’d just always planned on being a lawyer. I was betting at Emerald Downs in the simulcast area a lot that winter and thought maybe I could work there? At the time, my mom had a business that advertised on Victor the Predictor’s radio show, so I asked for his contact info and emailed him to see if Emerald Downs was hiring at all. Turned out they needed a turf writer and I ended up getting the job.

The first day there, I got to meet Victor, and the rest of that season I’d bring him and all the media guys the charts after each race, pick up their past performances, and offer any other help they needed. Victor used to oversee the media show parlay each weekend, and my first time playing in it I picked a first-time starter that ran off the board. Vic wasn’t pleased with me and came over to tell me, “You don’t pick first-time starters in the show parlay, kid.” I had zero discipline back in those days, and Vic used to always get mad at me for betting Calder and all the AM tracks, and told me just to focus on Emerald.

Vic owned lots of horses and truly seemed to love his horses. In the years after I left Emerald and started announcing, we’d still email and stay in touch, and I’d always go chat with him in the press box if I did make it back home. He always sat in the far left seat in the press box and would have Emerald Downs on one TV and the Mariners game on another.

He was a truly unique character and an institution of racing up there at Emerald Downs. Emerald Downs and Washington really do have a great racing community up there, and Victor was a part of it for five decades. Rest in Peace, Victor the Predictor.