(Louisville) Hillary Rodham Clinton galloped to a narrow win over Barack Obama in yesterday’s 134th Kentucky Derby. With the victory the junior senator from New York continued to stay close to rival Obama in the overall horserace for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president.
With Richard Mellon Scaife at the reins, Clinton started strongly out of the gate. She set a smooth, seemingly effortless pace as she led the pack on the backstretch, and looked to be running away to an easy victory.
However, at the half mile mark she faced a challenge from Obama, who came up slightly to her left and passed. Clinton fell back into second position.
Obama gradually built a lead of five lengths. But as they reached the far turn, media favorite Jeremiah Wright emerged from the tightly bunched pack and closed in. This distracted Obama enough to give Clinton a chance.
Scaife applied a very expensive whip, and Clinton pulled even as the field turned toward the finish.
Clinton, who has had success running in mud, pulled ahead in the final furlong, crossing the line a half-length ahead of Obama, who had briefly slowed along the rail to discuss issues with infield spectators. John Edwards was third, and Bill Richardson fourth. Dennis Kucinich, riding his wife Elizabeth, did not finish.
Sadly, Mike Gravel began foaming at the mouth and had to be put down.
Celebrating after the race in the traditional Winner’s Circle, Clinton was exultant. “I have won the popular vote of those who have voted — if you count Florida and Michigan, ignore Iowa, Maine and Washington, and multiply by the square root of pi the votes cast for me in counties with names starting with the letter M,” she said.
Despite the victory, Clinton still trails Obama in the overall delegate count.
Asked whether there are any circumstances under which she would consider ending her run, Clinton tossed her head and gave a spirited, braying laugh before responding, “Nay, I say. Naaaaaay!”