A Horse Named Blagojevich

Maybe the name “Blagojevich” is cursed.

The Chicago News Cooperative has a report on the career of a harness horse named Blagojevich who is living in retirement on a Michigan farm after failing to win enough races at Balmoral Race Track in Crete.

“He just never lived up to his potential,” said Phil Langley, one of Blagojevich’s previous owners, and director of racing at Balmoral and Maywood parks. “That kind of goes along with the governor.”

Blagojevich was a colt out of Political Promise, by Would I Lie, so it seemed natural to name him after the mendacious governor. Like his namesake, Blagojevich won his first two races, then became too distracted to continue his success. His owners tried gelding him (an option unavailable for the real-life Blagojevich), but he still wouldn’t focus on the track.

In Michigan, his new owners call him The Governor, and have noted similarities with the human Blagojevich.

“He has a lot of hair,” said Karen Tkaczyk. “His tail touches the floor, it’s so long. He’s got a great personality. Competitive on the racetrack and nice in the barn. Very friendly.”

Blagojevich is not the only horse named after a famous Chicagoan. Hugh Hefner ran in the 2000 Belmont Stakes, receiving a paddock visit from his namesake, who may have had advice on servicing multiple females as a stud. Daley was foaled in 2007. Radio host Steve Dahl bought a horse and named it Stevebiscuit. And former Gov. Jim Edgar has an entire race named after him, the annual Jim Edgar Futurity for 2-year-olds at Hawthorne Race Course.

If Rod Blagojevich had a race named after him, I bet he’d try to bribe the jockeys, fail to reach a deal with any of them, but still get banned from the track for race fixing.

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