The GOP 2016 Presidential Field and Thoroughbred Horse Racing

Thoroughbred horse racing is called the Sport of Kings, but that is the closest it comes to politics.  While thoroughbred horse racing has a big following like NASCAR racing, it is not the kind of event that politicians would show up at to pander to its fans.

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This coming Saturday, thoroughbred horse racing will stage one of its premier event at the Belmont Park racetrack in New York – the Belmont Stakes.  This race is significant because it is the final leg of the Triple Crown, which is the Holy Grail of horse racing in America.  The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978, but this could change after Saturday’s race if American Pharaoh who won the first two legs – the Kentucky Derby and Preakness – wins the Belmont Stakes.

The Belmont Stakes usually attract a large crowd and would seem a good place for a presidential candidate to be for a photo op.  Don’t expect to see any of the GOP or Democratic presidential hopefuls there though.  Horse racing fans are not a homogeneous group like NASCAR fans.  Politicians tend to like homogeneous groups and that is why Mitt Romney in his 2012 campaign courted NASCAR fans.

Although thoroughbred horse racing does not have much in common with the current GOP presidential field, there are a few similarities between the two.  Entering a horse in one of the major stake races like the Kentucky Derby or the Breeders’ Cup requires the horse to earn purse money that meets the minimum qualifying amount set by the racing commission.  This eliminates many horses so that only the top caliber horses compete.

The GOP presidential contenders so far include 12 candidates and counting.  This is the largest field in the history of presidential nominations.  Like horses competing in a major stake races, the GOP field will be narrowed if the contenders don’t raise enough campaign money, perform poorly in debates, or if they don’t win primaries.  Fox News the host of the first debate recognizing that this large field of candidates could become a spectacle has decided to include only candidates who are in the top 10 by averaging the five most recent national polls up to the time of the debate.  This is somewhat similar to the method to eliminate thoroughbred horses from major stake races.

In thoroughbred racing, only top caliber horses compete for the major stake races like the Breeders’ Cup and the Kentucky Derby.  Although thoroughbred horses are ranked in classes from claiming (the lowest class), allowance, and graded (Grades 1, 2, and 3 with 1 being the highest grade) only the graded horses compete in the major stake races.  This is not the case with the GOP presidential candidates as the field includes people who by thoroughbred standards should be competing in the Claiming and Allowance races.

Because the major thoroughbred races generally have large purses (prize money) of over $1,000,000, they tend to attract large number of horses at nomination time.  Not all horses have a realistic chance of winning a major stake race as most don’t earn the qualifying prerequisite purse money.  The same holds true for the large 2016 GOP presidential field.  Most of them don’t have a realistic chance of winning a primary which makes them the longest of the long shots (dark horses) to win the nomination to represent their party.

So if most of the 2016 GOP presidential candidates don’t have a chance as a snowball in hell to get the nomination, why are they running?  My guess is that some of them are delusional because of President Obama.  They believe that if President Obama can become president, they too can become president.

Based on how all the GOP presidential candidates have demonized President Obama, they probably believe that they are a better leader and a better man than him.  Yes, they think that if a black man can do it they can do it too.  And what about the unprecedented number of nonwhite candidates in the field?  President Obama gets the credit for this because he opened the floodgates for nonwhite people who now believe they too have a chance to become president.

The similarities between thoroughbred racehorses competing for major races and the 2016 GOP presidential candidates are superficial and are like comparing donkeys racing against thoroughbred horses.  Thoroughbred racehorses competing in major races like the Belmont Stakes are high caliber competitive horses and the GOP presidential candidates are more like imposters pretending that they too can be president.  Most of them don’t have any leadership skills, people skills, and given their penchant for political diatribe are not ready to be considered seriously for any high political office.

If there is anything thoroughbred horse racing and 2016 GOP presidential race have in common, it is that both promises to be entertaining.  The former is real entertainment and last for about a minute and a half for races like the Belmont Stakes.  The latter is entertaining only because of the number of imposters and jesters involved.  The entertainment they will provide will be a continuation of their political gibberish, propaganda, and attack on President Obama – somebody needs to tell them that President Obama is not running for reelection.  Unfortunately, they will entertain us in a negative way for the next 18 months.

By the way, picking a winner out of the crowded 2016 GOP presidential field is a difficult task because it is hard to find a winner from a bunch of losers.  For the Belmont Stakes, picking the winner is a little bit easier since there are fewer horses in the field.  The favorite American Pharaoh is set to win the Triple Crown if he can beat the competition over the grueling one a half-mile distance – a longer distance than the Derby and Preakness races.  My pick to beat American Pharaoh is Frosted – yes, the Pharaoh will be iced.