In the 7th Race at Hawthorne on Saturday, one of the also-rans was a horse named Illinois Politics. It’s the first time Illinois politics has finished out of the money anywhere, but it’s not the first time Illinois politics -- or politics in general -- has inspired horse racing.
A Horse Named Blago
According to the Jockey Club Registry, there are 12 horses named after Barack Obama: Obama, Obama City, Obama Girl, Obamagotosama, Obama Mama, Obamanator, Obamanos, Obamarama, Obama's Princess, Obama's Promises, Obama's Vow, Obamulus. The oldest was foaled in 2006, which means he was old enough to race in 2008, the year Obama was elected president. (Obama’s predecessor inspired Bushes Victory, foaled in 2000, and Dubya. John McCain doesn’t have any namesakes on the track, but Sarah Palin does: Palin and Palin Comparison.)
Chicago can also claim the horses Daley and Boss.
A horse named Blago was foaled in 2006. In fact, you can tell the story of Blagojevich’s career, just by using horse names: Boss’s Daughter, Congressman, Election Promise, Governors Dandy, Clout, Patronage, Bribe, Fraud, Political Gain, Wire Tap, Indictment, Impeached, Guilty as Charged, and Prisoner.
The Illinois politician who has been most honored at the racetrack is former Gov. Jim Edgar, who has an entire race named after him: the Jim Edgar Futurity for 2-year-olds, run every fall at Hawthorne Race Course. Edgar is horse racing nut who regularly showed up at tracks during his governorship to watch horses owned by his father-in-law, Don Smith. (Every time he turned out to see a filly named Lady Doc, she won, so his presence was a useful tip for handicapper.) Edgar now has his own stable of racehorses.
The politician who probably most deserved a horse name was former Gov. Otto Kerner, who went to prison after receiving Arlington Park stock as a bribe for sitting highway exits near the track.
The best political name ever, even though it had nothing to do with Illinois: Horse Greeley.