Thursday Thoughts with Jason Beem Dec. 22, 2022
A good Thursday morning to you all! Hope everyone’s holiday week is going well no matter what holidays you may be celebrating this season! One of the cool things about the holidays is the traditions associated with them. My family always celebrated with my dad’s side of the family on Christmas Eve and then with my mom’s on Christmas day. We always got matching Christmas pajamas on Christmas morning. Every year I always woke up at least an hour or two before everyone else in the house and had to endure the long wait until everyone arose and the presents could be opened. First world problems I know, but to an eight-year-old, that was a long wait!
Our game of horse racing is filled with traditions. Many of our signature tracks and events have been open for more than a century or at least several decades. Every year we run the Kentucky Derby (G1) and celebrate not only that day but the road to it. Every year we go to our local tracks with our family or make an annual trip to Saratoga or Del Mar. When a horse wins a specific race they’re celebrated with the tradition of a winner’s circle visit and flowers laid over their neck. Our game is filled with traditions.
One of my favorite traditions remains opening day at Santa Anita. To me it always feels like the start of the new year, even though it’s obviously really the end of the current one. Every year I look at those Dec. 26 races in my Brisnet past performances, but I generally wait until Christmas night to really dive in. In recent years my mom and sister would go out to a movie on Christmas afternoon and that was my chance to crack open the Brisnet pp’s and get going.
I should say that all that work and excitement usually go busto by like the second race after a favorite I hated wins by 10, but you get the point. It’s the process and the tradition of it that are the fun. I remember someone asking me years ago what my favorite part of betting the horse races was. My answer was “going to get the past performances the night before.” Opening up a new set of pp’s is like a horseplayers' Christmas present. Filled with possibilities and promise. Every winner of every race is in there somewhere.
I’m actually looking forward to spending the Dec. 26 racing holiday not at Santa Anita, but at the Fair Grounds. It’s going to be my first chance to go there for racing. I did stop by there once for like five minutes to walk around, but I was driving cross country and had to make it to Del Mar a few days later. They have a monster 13-race card assembled that’s loaded with stakes events. Aside from getting to go to the track I’m extremely excited to see some friends who work down there. One of the beauties of social media is that you get to meet and talk with people from all over the world. But when we’re usually in our hometowns, it’s rare we actually get to put faces with the screen names. So if any of you out there are reading this and are going to be at the Fair Grounds on Monday, please say hello if you see me.
The column will be off on Monday for the Christmas holiday, but we’ll be back Thursday with our end of the year wrap-up. And then onto 2023. I hope everyone has a great holiday week and we’ll see you back here next Thursday. Best wishes!