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May 27, 2021 56 min
Ralph Siraco is no stranger to Winningponies and even covered some racing events with “The Regular Guy.” Never short on an honest opinion, John will check his views of such topics as Jockey Whip Restrictions, the Medina Spirit wailings, the Lasix debates and Saturday’s three graded races at Santa Anita. Featured are the Gr. 2 $200,000 Charles Whittingham on the turf; Gr. 2 $200,000 Triple Bend and the Gr. 3 $100,000 Daytona Stakes over the greensward. Jason Beem, who has been a guest on Winningponies over the years will join us in the second segment. Jason and John worked together when he started calling the races at River Downs in 2006. Since that stepping off point in his career, he has called races at numerous Thoroughbred tracks. It was announced last week that Jason has been hired as the announcer at Tampa Bay Downs. He will begin on June 30, the first day of the track's two-day Summer Festival of Racing. The 41-year-old University of Washington graduate currently announces at Grants Pass Downs in Oregon and will begin his third season at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va., on July 19. At Tampa Bay Downs, he replaces Richard Grunder, who retired on May 2 after 37 years and more than 37,000 races at the Oldsmar oval. “I love the racing there and am excited to become a part of it,” said Beem, who hosts an hour-long podcast each Monday through Friday – the Jason Beem Horse Racing Podcast sponsored by Twinspires – on which he interviews many of the sport's leading figures. Margo Flynn, the Vice President of Marketing and Publicity at Tampa Bay Downs, believes Beem will be embraced by listeners accustomed to Grunder's energetic, fan-friendly style, while attracting new followers through his social-media platforms. In addition to his podcast, Beem is active on Twitter ( @BeemieAwards ) and Instagram ( @jasonbeemracing ) and has a YouTube channel. Beem knows it is a next-to-impossible task replacing Grunder, who is a jockey's agent at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn. In an almost-eerie coincidence, both called races at since-closed Portland Meadows in Oregon at similar stages of their careers, with Beem working there from 2006-2014. “I don't look at it as trying to replace him, because he is a legend,” Beem said. “I just want to be a great member of the Tampa Bay Downs team, get to know the horse-playing community and get a lot of people excited about horse racing.
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