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Thompson Gets Turf Fever

Former Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson has been busy since leaving the government.

Former Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson has been busy since leaving the government. In addition to being a private consultant on health issues, he has an office at Washington’s Akin Gump law firm. He also is on the board of VeriChip, a company exploring how to implant medical emergency radio-frequency devices under people’s skin.

Thompson, 64, can’t seem to get enough action. This year he is close to having a starter in the Kentucky Derby, just a year after getting interested in horseracing. In 2005, after seeing the race won by long-shot Giacomo, he decided he wanted to own horses. So he bought his way into a 17-person syndicate to purchase Flashy Bull, whose sire, Holy Bull, helped produce Giacomo.

Thompson says he has spoken to the colt: “I petted him, spoke to him, and said, ‘Make sure you win the Kentucky Derby.’ ”

The $205,000 purchase failed in the Florida Derby at 4 to 1 and seemed a long shot at even getting into the big race. However, if there was one thing the 50-to-1 Giacomo proved in 2005, it’s that any horse can win the Derby.

About the only Washingtonian picking last year’s winner was Palm maître d’ and racing enthusiast Tommy Jacomo, who picked the winner because of their similar names. This year, the famously closed-mouthed maître d’ is going with another namesake, Discreet Cat.

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