Jason Grill: Mitt Romney VP Odds, Preakness Style

The 137th running of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown, is this Saturday at Pimlico race track in Baltimore, Maryland. The Preakness can either destroy the dreams of the Kentucky Derby winner’s team or it can set up drama like no other at the Belmont Stakes. There has not been a Triple Crown winning horse since 1978, when Affirmed completed the trifecta. I’ll Have Another, the 2012 Kentucky Derby winner, is hoping to do the same in 2012.

Mitt Romney has locked up the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 2012. Just like I’ll Have Another, he is riding high right now. Romney is leading President Obama in a recent CBS News/New York Times poll. His next major campaign move, selecting his Vice Presidential nominee, might decide what looks to be a very close general election. If you don’t believe me, look no further than Sarah Palin in 2008.

So without further ado I give you the “Mitt Romney VP Odd’s Preakness Style” based on the first early morning lines of the race when post positions were drawn. Can there be anything more fun than combining premier US horse racing with presidential politics? I think not.


8-5 Odds – Bodemeister/Senator Marco Rubio (R – FL): Bodemeister led from the gate to nearly the finish of the Kentucky Derby until I’ll Have Another caught him. Just like Bodemeister, Rubio sprinted out to an early lead in the veepstakes and has maintained it up to this point. He is a rising star, has been called the “crown prince” of the Tea Party movement, and potentially delivers the most important swing state of them all. He also helps with the all important and growing Latino vote. Can Rubio seal the deal with Romney or will he get passed in the end like Bodemeister in the Derby? Maybe Romney passes if Mitt can’t handle Rubio’s “star power” potentially outshining him. This pick makes so much sense for Mitt.

5-2 Odds – I’ll Have Another/Senator Rob Portman (R – OH): I’ll Have Another shocked the horse racing world down the stretch of the 138th Kentucky Derby with his closing and finishing speed. Rob Portman is one those guys who has often been mentioned in the running for Romney’s mate, but isn’t as exciting to many Republicans as Rubio. Portman has served his country in the United States House and Senate, as well as in two cabinet positions in the George W. Bush administration. He is from the coveted swing state of Ohio, which President Obama won in 2008. Portman is a lot like Romney when it comes to style and substance, but his experience might make him a tad bit safer choice than Rubio. Portman is closing fast on Rubio in I’ll Have Another fashion.

6-1 Odds – Went the Day Well/Governor Bob McDonnell (R – VA): Went the Day Well went from 17th to a 4th place finish at this year’s Kentucky Derby. His jockey, Jose Valezquez, recently said to Fox Sports, “he was so far back I couldn’t make up that much ground, no way.” Bob McDonnell doesn’t have to make up as much ground because he gives Romney a chance to win the state of Virginia, which President Obama won in 2008. A former State Attorney General who has served in the military, McDonnell has seen unemployment in Virgina drop from 7.3 percent to 5.6 percent during his short time in the Governor’s office. If “it’s the economy stupid” election, Mitt might show that Virginia is for lovers and chose McDonnell.

6-1 Odds – Creative Cause/Congressman Paul Ryan (R – WI): If Creative Cause gets a clean path in the Preakness he just might pull it off. Why you ask? Based on Trakus data that recorded Kentucky Derby race results, Creative Cause traveled 29 more feet than the winner, but 79 less feet than the runner up. He finished only three lengths behind the Preakness favorite Bodemeister in the Kentucky Derby. Paul Ryan is a high profile Congressman who is every cutting government fan’s dream. He has a good rapport with Romney and his “Ryan Plan” was endorsed by Mitt. He is on the cover of the Republican conservative budgeting playbook and this might make him irresistible for Romney.


12-1 Odds – Daddy Nose Best/Governor Chris Christie (R – NJ): Daddy Nose Best has been called “very perky” since his 10th place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Christie is the exact opposite of Mitt Romney, he likes to ad lib. Scripts, what scripts? The Republican base loves him, but he might be too much for Mitt to handle. Paging Joe Biden.

15-1 Odds – Teeth Of The Dog/Governor Bobby Jindal (R – LA): Teeth of the Dog’s trainer says he has “galloped out real good” lately. Bobby Jindal has been doing well himself, as Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist recently said he was the guy Romney should choose for his VP. Republicans and Louisianans believe he is an effective reformer who has weathered many storms in his state. Jindal has been the flavor of the month many times, and his loose personality might be a good antithesis to Romney.

20-1 Odds – Zetterholm/Senator Kelly Ayotte (R – NH): You say Northeast ticket I say Romney/Ayotte, Romney/Ayotte…Romney/Ayotte. Kelly Ayotte is picking up a lot of steam lately in the veepstakes, just as Zetterholm has won his last three races. A female running mate could help Romney with his lagging numbers with this important demographic. However, Sarah Palin has described Ayotte as a “Granite State ‘mama grizzly’ who has broken barriers.” Say what?

30-1 Odds – Cozzetti/Fmr. Governor Tim Pawlenty (R – MN): Cozzetti’s trainer Dale Romans recently said of the horse, “One day he’s going to wake up and run lights out.” Republicans have been waiting for Pawlenty to do this on a national level for awhile. He dropped out of the 2012 race after the Iowa straw poll and was on the very short VP list for John McCain in 2008. He still has a lot of strong conservative fans. Will Mitt give him the chance to run lights out? Probably not.


30-1 Odds – Tiger Walk/Governor Nikki Haley (R – SC): Why Tiger Walk? Kent Desormeaux is his jockey. Why Nikki Haley for Romney 2012? Female, Tea Party starlet, and she is a governor from the south. Good contrast with Mitt.

30-1 Odds – Optimizer/Governor Mitch Daniels (R – IN): Optimizer is using the Preakness to prepare for the Belmont Stakes. Optimizer’s trainer believes that the Belmont will be his best race. Mitch Daniels was widely speculated to be a presidential candidate in 2012, but choose not to run. This publicity and positive speculation is only helping a possible run in 2016 should Romney lose to President Obama. Daniels serves out his second term as Governor of Indiana.


30-1 Odds – Pretension/Fmr. Governor Mike Huckabee (R – AR): Pretension is the token Maryland horse in the race to make the local fans get excited. Folksy Mike Huckabee does the same thing to the conservative and evangelical base of the Republican party. It would be a surprise, but stranger things have happened in politics.

Happy 137th Preakness and 2012 Republican presidential veepstakes.

And down the stretch they come…

(Cross-posted, with permission of the author, from The Huffington Post)


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