Horse Racing and Politics Can Teach Valuable Lessons For Picking Winners

By admin ~ April 18th, 2011 @ 3:17 am

Now that things are really heating up in United States politics and the show is really getting going, we will no doubt start hearing more references to horse racing. The reason is that horse racing has been such an integral part of American culture since before the states formed their union.

President Andrew Jackson was an ardent fan and owner of thoroughbreds. During his life his state of Tennessee was the thoroughbred breeding capital of the new nation and the president took part in all aspects of racing. In fact, he fought a duel over a horseracing debt and an insult to his wife. Obviously, he survived and went on to lead the young nation. His lessons at the track probably served him well in politics.

As odd as it may seem, it is possible to learn a few lessons about horse racing from politics as well as to learn a few lessons about politics from horse racing. I think the most important lesson to be learned is that it isn’t over until it is over and declared official. The political race for President between Al Gore and George Bush, Jr. certainly reinforced that. How much like a stewards inquiry and objection was the whole Florida, hanging chad debacle?

We who bet on the thoroughbreds, quarter horses, or harness races know that even if it appears one runner has won, you can’t cash your ticket until the judges declare it official. I’ve been disappointed by many a stewards decision and also by the political maneuvering that has gone on in some of the elections I’ve voted in. Either way, as he saying goes, “You pay your money and you takes your chances.”

So when you are playing the ponies, remember, don’t rip up your tickets until the race is official and you are sure you’ve lost and don’t head for the window to cash until you’re certain you’ve won and the officials agree.

Another valuable lesson for horseracing handicappers and political prognosticators is that just because a runner is in the lead and seems to be going strong, it doesn’t mean that he or she is a sure winner. Front runners do get to dictate the pace and may have a psychological advantage, but there are also some advantages to sitting back off the pace and letting a front runner burn out on the lead.

In the recent Democratic primaries it seemed that the front runner was a sure thing, but as history has recently shown, there are no sure things in politics or racing. Whether betting on horses or politicians, don’t bet it all on any one runner and always keep a few bucks in your shoe to eat on and get you home.

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