In many ways people who love horseracing and those who love to follow politics are similar. I guess that is why political races are compared many times to horse races.

What we have developing with the 2006 Governor’s race is exactly that, a horserace. We have four face cards vying for the brass cup, the Governor’s mansion. They should be dubbed the four horsemen, or shall we say horse people because one of them is a female.

Political enthusiasts follow their sport intensely the same way horseracing fanatics follow their horses. They watch them develop from birth to thoroughbred. The horse’s pedigree and experience is vitally important as they prepare to handicap a race.

As political fans begin to handicap the 2006 race, who qualifies as a thoroughbred as they enter the fray? If being in politics all your life, having prepared properly to be Governor since childhood, and choosing a pure political life is a measuring stick for being the best horse then there is only one thoroughbred, Don Siegelman.

The starkest contrast to Siegelman would be Roy Moore. Using the above standard of political pedigree, Moore’s entry into the Governor’s race would be analogous to entering a donkey in the Kentucky Derby. His only qualification for being Governor is that he put a wooden display of the Ten Commandments on his courtroom wall as an obscure Etowah County judge. This got him nationwide publicity so he rode it to the Supreme Court where he then placed a 5200 pound monument in the State Supreme Court building. Moore never would have dreamed 30 years ago he would be a major candidate for Governor in 2006, but then neither would Bob Riley.

Riley was busy building a successful business life as a trucker, farmer, and car dealership owner. He woke up about 10 years ago and realized he had succeeded business wise and was financially comfortable for life. Therefore, he thought much like Davy Crockett a century ago, “I think I’ll go to Congress.” That is what he did and stayed 6 years. Realizing that he would never be a player in the 435 member body, where many of the men his age had been there 20 years and had their seniority status built, decided he would come home and be Governor of Alabama. He succeeded at that like he has at everything in life he has attempted. Riley seems happy and content with himself whichever way the 2006 race goes. In the political scene he would be the quarter horse in the race.

Lucy Baxley would be the fast country long shot favorite having been brought up modestly, as she loves to talk about, in rural Houston County. She spent the first part of her adult life as a courthouse clerk, mother, and wife to political star Bill Baxley. After her divorce from Baxley she moved to Birmingham and had a successful real estate career. Her first entry into the political arena for herself was 12 years ago in her mid-50s when she won the State Treasurers job and stayed 8 years. Lucy then became Alabama’s first female Lt. Governor four years ago. Thirty years ago she may have dreamed of being the First Lady of Alabama but not Governor.

The thoroughbred in the race, Siegelman, not only thought he might be Governor, but fully expected it. He was first elected about 30 years ago as Secretary of State as a young man. He has been on the ballot for a statewide race every four years since 1978.

As they enter the 2006 Derby, Moore, the donkey, starts on the far right and Siegelman, the thoroughbred, starts on the far left. Baxley, the fast country favorite, and Riley, the quarter horse, are gated in the inside lanes. The two inside horses are the favorites. However, the favorites do no always win the Kentucky Derby.