With all the media frenzy surrounding the upcoming election, it’s sometimes hard to collect one’s thoughts and really consider the best person for the job. Both Obama and McCain have pros and cons associated with them, and sometimes the best way to really sort out those qualities is to stay away from the hype and take a look at an interesting parallel in the racing industry.

Those who follow Thoroughbred racing, even lightly, probably are aware of the buzz surrounding the two top male horses in the country. Curlin is a hardened veteran of the track with a long list of wins behind him, while Big Brown is the fairly unproven newcomer who has a few huge victories but an imposing amount of controversy as well. It may be ludicrous, but it’s fairly easy to draw a parallel between the presidential race and the horse race that has surrounded Curlin and Big Brown.

DRF, 2007

DRF, 2007

Curlin, with his experience and roaring might, clearly shadows Republican candidate John McCain. The tough chestnut is older than most racehorses at four years old, but he continues to fight on, bucking the industry trend of retiring horses after their three-year old season. Also like McCain, who served in the armed forces overseas, Curlin traveled abroad to Dubai to challenge the best horses in the world. While Curlin’s fight was in the name of sport and glory, McCain’s battle was for his life, as he spent over five years in a POW camp. Fortunately, both Curlin and McCain returned home with spirits intact, although they achieved victories in very different ways.

McCain is stubborn and persistent, almost unflinching to the blows his Democratic opponents throw his way; similarly, Curlin seems to buckle down when challenged in the stretch, pinning his ears and digging into the track. He gives his all until the very end, doggedly running to the end of his reserves to overcome every horse on the track.A future in the breeding shed may be looming closer, but you can be sure that Curlin will keep fighting until he flashes beneath the wire in his last race, wherever that may be.

AP Photo/Rob Carr

AP Photo/Rob Carr

Big Brown, although only a year younger than Curlin, is fresher and has a much shorter list of races under his belt. Like Democratic candidate Barack Obama, Big Brown is the new kid on the block, and he’s definitely out to make a name for himself. He may be less experienced than his opponent, he he has charisma and fleeting flashes of sheer brilliance. His unearthly performance in the Kentucky Derby had racing spectators in an uproar, and suddenly everyone was considering the fact that this striking bay colt could perhaps achieve racing immortality by winning the Triple Crown. Similarly, Obama has risen dramatically from his senator status to secure the Democratic nomination for President, and now many are willing to believe that he will trump the conservative Washington set and achieve his ultimate goal.

While I can’t possibly decide which candidate will make the White House, I can ponder the rivalry between Curlin and Big Brown. With the possibility of a match up in the Breeder’s Cup, the racing world is beginning to take sides. There are those who believe that the more experienced and skilled Curlin will continue his reign as one of the preeminent racers of the decade. On the other hand, some believe that Big Brown was cheated in the Belmont, and will continue off his Haskell win to rise again and reclaim his glory. And, of course, is the likely possibility that this meeting will never occur. Curlin’s connections have never been fond of Santa Anita’s synthetic track, and may keep their champion on the surface he loves most, dirt. Unlike the Presidential race, one may have to settle for the performances each horse has shown so far, and decide for themselves which horse is best.

Of course, comparing two racehorses to Presidential candidates is quite silly. One set is saddled with the hopes, complaints, problems, aspirations, and government of one of the most powerful countries in the world. The other set races for the pleasure and profit of people. However, racehorses, like Presidents, also loft the dreams of those same people high, and while they often find defeat, victory is just around the corner. Whether that victory is at the end of a rigorous campaign or a testing stretch run, the road there is always the same; a long, hard pull, testing opponents, and thrilling sprint to the finish.

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