Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem Sept. 26, 2022

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September 26th, 2022

A good Monday morning to you all! Back from vacation and excited to be back both here on the Monday and Thursday column beat, but also back with the podcast. I thoroughly enjoyed my time away from work as well as away from racing. In fact, Thursday I want to write about the benefits of taking the occasional break away from the sport that we’re all so passionate about.

I think during the two-and-a-half weeks I was off, I visited three different tracks, which doesn’t exactly sound like being away from racing. However, in those weeks, I also watched one race on TwinSpires, and that was the Prince of Wales S. because I wanted to hear my pal Doug McPherson call his first big race. He did great!

One of the tracks I visited just this past weekend was Golden Gate Fields down in the Bay Area. Golden Gate is one of my favorite tracks to go spend a weekend, and I’d venture a guess at this point I’ve probably been there for maybe 25 or 30 days of racing. I usually go for a weekend or two every year. This year, I got to visit with track announcer Matt Dinerman for a bit, and he will be on the podcast Tuesday. Plus, the weather was spot on all weekend long.

But the main thing I wanted to write about was getting the experience to sit with a friend at the races who is a newer fan to horse racing, and particularly to horse playing. I think all of us who work in horse racing and want to grow the game have a duty to not only try to bring people into the game, but to teach them about it as well. One of the great joys of doing my podcast is to get to talk with people who are filled with knowledge about all the great parts of this game. To learn from them and to hopefully spread that knowledge to our listenership and beyond.

So my friend who came with me to the races certainly knows horse racing. But they are still somewhat new to the ideas of betting, ticket structure, and the like. So it was a real joy to get to sit with them and talk about all the things I’ve learned about those topics from people who are infinitely better than I am at them. It was so cool to watch them light up with excitement when learning about things like building equity in your horizontal wagers and discussing why the early Pick 5 that day paid almost six times what the early Pick 4 paid, even though the extra winner was just 5-2.

In recent years, the math in horse racing and betting has really become my favorite part of the experience — Playing with the numbers and trying to solve why certain combinations were paying less than they should or more than they should. Using the will pays to determine probable off-odds. Trying to figure out what a parlay would pay for a given sequence of races. It really, to me, has become one of the more stimulating exercises within a game that’s full of stimulating exercises.

Someone who listens to my podcast came up to me this weekend at Golden Gate Fields and like many listeners, he told me he really appreciated the interviews we did with professional horseplayer "Inside the Pylons."

The three interviews with ITP remain our top three episodes of the show, with the first two miles in front of the rest of the pack. Kentucky Derby roundtables fill out much of the other top 10 spots.

I’ve learned more about horseplaying from ITP than anyone, and whether it’s on my show, on social media, or on our weekly group Zoom chats, it’s so fun to get to not only soak up that knowledge, but share it with people like my friend.

I think sometimes in horse racing we focus on teaching newer players the wrong stuff. We tell them to bet to show because it’s easier and they’ll win more. We tell them to look for the winner no matter the price. I think bettor education is an area we can do so much better in and I include myself in that statement. But this past weekend was a real joy to get to have some one-on-one discussions with someone who is new to the game but passionate about it. I think there are so many young people out there that the challenge and math of betting horse racing would be utterly fascinating too.

Here’s to not only getting them in the door, but teaching them the right things when we do.