Kentucky Derby, Democratic primary both have fields of 20

Apr 29, 2019

  Commentary: The thing that makes the Kentucky Derby so unique is the size of the field. A typical race has six to 12 horses. The Kentucky Derby has 20.

The thing that makes this Democratic primary so unique is that it also has 20 contenders.


Matching horse with human, here’s how I’ve got it handicapped (in order of post position):

1. War of Will/Eric Swalwell. The horse is a beautiful brown with a distinctive white stripe down the middle of his face. The candidate has the best hair in the field. (Odds 20-1).

2. Tax/John Hickenlooper. The horse has made the jump from $30,000 claimer to a second-place finish at the Wood Memorial. The candidate was aided by a medication change when Colorado legalized pot. (Odds 30-1).

3. By My Standards/Jay Inslee. The horse had one great race, the Louisiana Derby. The candidate has one great issue, climate change. (Odds 20-1).

4. Gray Magician/Wayne Massam. Expect both horse and candidate to start slowly, then fade. (Odds 50-1).

5. Improbable/Amy Klobuchar. The horse is one of three in the race trained by Bob Baffert. The candidate is one of six from the Senate. (Odds 10-1).

6. Vekoma/Corey Booker. The horse used its early speed to win the Bluegrass Stakes. The candidate used his speed to rescue a woman from a burning house, but his campaign has yet to catch fire. (Odds 15-1).

7. Maximum Security/Kamala Harris. The horse is undefeated and may be the best of the early speed. The candidate hopes her home state will help her get out of the gate fast. (Odds 10-1).

8. Tacitus/Bernie Sanders. Starting on the rail, the horse has shown the ability to maneuver through crowded fields in his Florida Derby and Wood Memorial wins. The candidate is looking for an outside lane after placing last time. (Odds 6-1).

9. Plus Que Parfait/John Delaney. The horse is a hapless Dubai shipper. The candidate was first to declare, his only moments in first. (Odds 50-1).

10. Cutting Humor/Tulsi Gabbard. The Sunland Derby winner will be looking to follow in the hoofsteps of Mine That Bird. The candidate is also a longshot. (Odds 30-1).

11. Haikal/Tim Ryan. The horse will be looking to rally from off the pace, without much luck. So will the candidate. (Odds 30-1).

12. Omaha Beach/Joe Biden (morning-line favorite). The horse, ridden by veteran jockey Mike Smith, has big wins in the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby. The candidate was a veteran senator and VP, but lost in two previous starts and is coming off a layoff. (Odds 9/2).

13. Code of Honor/Beto O’Rourke. The horse is outclassed, but showed the ability to win as an longshot at the Fountain of Youth Stakes. The candidate is also taking a big class jump. (Odds 15-1).

14. Win Win Win/Seth Moulton. The horse is a stretch runner who could surprise. The candidate will be jostling with Tim Ryan in the back of the pack. (Odds 30-1).

15. Master Fencer/Marianne Williamson. The horse has never won a stakes race. The candidate is Oprah’s spiritual advisor. (Odds 50-1).

16. Game Winner/Elizabeth Warren: The horse won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year, but has since lost to Roadster and Omaha Beach. The candidate has the best plans, if anyone will listen. (Odds 8-1).

17. Roadster/Pete Buttigieg. The horse has won two straight since coming back from throat surgery to correct breathing problems. The candidate has never won above the municipal level, but has dazzled in workouts. (Odds 5-1).

18. Long Range Toddy/Julian Castro. The horse is coming off a dismal sixth in the Arkansas Derby. The candidate might fare better if allowed to run as a coupled entry with twin brother Joaquin. (Odds 30-1),

19. Spinoff/Kirsten Gillebrand. The horse couldn’t hold the lead in the Louisiana Derby. The candidate will likely never see the lead. (Odds 30-1).

20, Country House/Andrew Yang. The horse wants to rally from off the pace. The candidate wants to give away free money. (Odds 30-1).

I like it 17-12-7.

Walter Rubel can be reached at