Like many involved in horse racing, either as fans or people who work in the industry, Jason Beem started going to the track with his father at a young age. That was at Longacres racetrack near Seattle, Wash.
Gary Henson was the track announcer and Beem started doing pretend race calls, mimicking the cadence and voice of Henson (son of longtime Hollywood Park and Del Mar’s gravelly-voiced announcer Harry Henson).
When Longacres was sold and developed and Beem went off to college, he lost interest in the game, but that was reignited when his father took ill. “When my dad got sick, I started going back to the races with him, and after he died I just kept going,” he said. In 2005, Beem heard Vic Stauffer’s call of Cesario winning the American Oaks at Hollywood Park, and decided he’d found his calling.
“I remember the hair on my arms standing up hearing it and I thought ‘I can do that,’ so I went and got binoculars and started practicing the next day.”
Seventeen years after calling his first race Jan. 8, 2006 – at Portland Meadows, won by A Colt Named Sue – Beem serves as track announcer at Tampa Bay Downs and Colonial Downs, in addition to hosting the Jason Beem Horse Racing Podcast. He may be best known as the creator of the Beemie Awards, a satirical online awards show that was wildly popular on social media but is now on hiatus.
Beem joins Ray Paulick and bloodstock editor Joe Nevills on this week’s Friday Show to talk about his career and some of the unusual things he’s witnessed from the announcer’s booth, including last week’s appearance on the Tampa Bay turf course of an alligator.
Watch this week’s episode of the Friday Show below: