Following an historic longshot victory at the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby Saturday, the only thing garnering more attention than triumphant Rich Strike was former President Donald Trump who was met with raucous cheers and chants of “USA!”
The presidents influence has remained significant ahead of the midterm elections having had more than 50 endorsements win their primaries so far this year. To continue those efforts, Trump hosted a $75,000-per-head fundraiser at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY to observe the first leg of the Triple Crown.
After arriving about 20 minutes before the race, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the president appeared on the big screen much to the delight of attendees.
Trump was at the Kentucky derby today. Crowd was definitely #UltraMAGA 😁🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/kjY2EoLoK0
— oregon4TRUMP (@shawgerald4) May 8, 2022
While several commented how much they miss the president’s leadership, especially when compared to President Joe Biden’s mishandling of the economy atop other issues, one person in attendance went as far as to wish he could give the president a hug.
I am at the Kentucky Derby and they just showed Donald J. Trump on the infield big screen in his private box. Greatest President Ever. I want to go give him a hug and tell him I miss him
— ScottDavis13 🍊 (@Davis13Scott) May 7, 2022
Trump’s attendance could not overshadow the remarkable odds, 80-1, overcome by late entry Rich Strike to win the Derby ahead of the favored Epicenter after trailing in the pack for most of the race.
The overhead view makes Rich Strike's comeback for the upset @KentuckyDerby win look even more incredible. 😮 #KyDerby | @ChurchillDowns pic.twitter.com/iDfkGVZS0O
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) May 8, 2022
While Trump’s arrival at the race had been kept concealed from the public despite early reports that he would be in attendance –
Seems a former president (@POTUS45) may walk through here shortly at Churchill Downs. #KyDerby pic.twitter.com/Kzv7ZCVI48
— Andrew Henderson (@andrwfhenderson) May 7, 2022
Trump is set to appear a fundraiser his super PAC is holding at the Kentucky Derby, in McConnell’s state pic.twitter.com/2tYc7r8E6x
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 21, 2022
– Rich Strike, with jockey Sonny Leon, was only substituted into the race Friday after Ethereal Road was scratched due to injury. Trainer Eric Reed told the Louisville Courier Journal, “I don’t know how (to put the win into words). I fell down in the paddock when he hit the wire. I about passed out. I’m so happy.”
“We don’t go out and buy the big horses,” he added. “We just try to have a good, quality stable. We always perform well, our percentages are always good. We take care of the horse first, and the rest falls into place.”
“I never thought I would have a Derby horse,” Reed noted after explaining a tragic fire that had killed 23 of his horses six years earlier. “I just wanted to buy my clients a horse that would keep them happy, have some fun and make a little money.”
Evidently, Trump was also there to have fun while making a little money. According to The New York Times, the president periodically exited the seclusion of his suite and, on at least one occasion, threw cash over the railing to spectators below.
Trump was at the Kentucky derby pic.twitter.com/viXnXunRVF
— 🌷Cee Jay🌷 (@corimomma75) May 8, 2022
DJT. 45/47. #KentuckyDerby pic.twitter.com/EDB6AO0b0k
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 8, 2022
Accompanied by leaders from his political action committee that included former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, former acting US attorney general Matt Whitaker, former acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell and his future daughter-in-law Kimberly Guilfoyle, the president’s attendance was also considered a slight against Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Having referred to McConnell as “the old broken-down crow,” Trump has continually aligned himself against the Kentucky lawmaker who, instead of attending the annual event in his home state, took part in a memorial for longtime colleague Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) who passed away in April.
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