On Tuesday, Ted Cruz officially ended his presidential campaign after a disheartening loss in Indiana's Republican primary. Since then, there has been plenty of speculation on where Cruz's withdrawal leaves him and the Republican Party. Eventually, the senator from Texas will return to Congress to finish out his term, possibly before running for the White House again in four years — but first, Cruz attended the 2016 Kentucky Derby on Saturday in Louisville.
Several hours before the derby's run time, a political writer from Louisville's Courier-Journal, Joe Gerth, tweeted a photo of Cruz at Churchill Downs, the racetrack where the Kentucky Derby is held annually. According to Gerth, Cruz had declined an interview, saying, "I'm just here to have a good time." (After ending his presidential campaign, the former candidate probably could have used a mint julep or 10.) There was no word on whether or not Cruz's wife, Heidi, was also in attendance, but the senator was reportedly hanging out on Millionaires Row, one of the most coveted viewing areas at the derby. Keeping with the derby's quintessential, Gatsby-esque ambience, Cruz sported a sandy-colored suit, a much different look than the dark suits of his campaign wardrobe.
If you're at the derby "to have a good time," then there are few better places for you than Millionaires Row (or so I've heard). The exclusive interior dining room is located on the fourth and sixth floors of Churchill Downs, offering sweeping views of the track and the grounds. A ticket to Millionaires Row could set you back around $7,000, though that doesn't take into account any upgrades — like hotel accommodations and concierge services — you may want to incorporate.
Cruz wasn't the only politician to attend Saturday's Kentucky Derby, though many high-profile officials skipped the event. According to Gerth's tweets, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe were all in attendance, along with several other Kentucky officials. As for Cruz's once-fellow presidential candidates, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders did not attend. Perhaps if the derby had occurred before Kentucky's March 5 primary, the guest list might have looked a little different.
With regard to the candidates still in the race, their absence was most likely a matter of practicality. According to McClatchy, Trump, Clinton, and Sanders each had campaign events scheduled elsewhere throughout the weekend. As for Cruz, there's something symbolic about a former candidate attending the nation's most popular horse race less than a week after dropping out of a pretty high-profile race of his own.