Presidents Race Facts

The Washington Nationals Racing Presidents at the White House Easter Egg Roll

The Nationals’ presidents race has been a fixture at Washington Nationals home baseball games since 2006, and quickly became a fan favorite.

The Racing Presidents

Participants in the presidents race include the four presidents whose images appear on Mount Rushmore, plus three new members that were introduced in later years and raced in DC before being “retired” to the Nationals’ spring training home at The Ball Park of the Palm Beachs in West Palm Beach, Florida.

  • #1 George Washington, our 1st president
  • #3 Thomas Jefferson, our 3rd president
  • #16 Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president
  • #26 Teddy Roosevelt, our 26th president
  • #27 William Howard Taft, our 27th president (2013 – 2016, retired)
  • #30 Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president (2015 “visiting president,” retired)
  • #31 Herbert Hoover, our 31st president (2016 “visiting president,” retired)

Rules of the Race

April 23 Boxing Gloves Presidents Race Nationals Park Teddy Man in the ArenaThere are few rules to the presidents race. In the middle of the 4th inning of every Nationals Park home game, the racing presidents are introduced individually as they enter the park through the center field fence. They run along the warning track, turning for the final sprint along the first base foul line toward a makeshift finish line near the Washington Nationals’ home dugout. Starting in 2012, the team started mixing things up by shifting occasional races to the 3rd base side.

Presidents Race History and Records

Most notable among presidents race records is Teddy Roosevelt’s winless streak, which lasted from the race’s inception on July 21, 2006 through the final race of the regular season on October 3, 2012. Roosevelt lost 525 races before notching his first victory.

2006 Presidents Race – Champion: Thomas Jefferson

Presidents Race Washington NationalsIn 2006, the presidents raced officially began during a July home stand, just after the Lerner family purchased the team from Major League Baseball. In this shortened first season, the presidents race remained a hotly contested contest between Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln until the very end, with Tom pulling away on the very last game of the season. Teddy Roosevelt did not draw a lot of attention to himself. He simply failed to win a single race.

Final 2006 Standings

Thomas Jefferson 15
Abraham Lincoln 14
George Washington 7
Teddy Roosevelt 0

2007 Presidents Race Champion: George Washington

The RFK Stadium scoreboard shows the final standings for the 2007 presidents race.The first full season for the racing presidents was 2007, and it was a bit of a coming out party for Teddy Roosevelt, who stepped up the antics on opening day with a zip line stunt from the roof of RFK Stadium, and began losing in more spectacular ways. The Let Teddy Win movement began to draw attention, but unfortunately for Teddy, the winner’s circle continued to be elusive, and as the summer wore on, it became clear that this was to be George Washington’s year. Our first president surged ahead, and had the season title easily wrapped up by mid-September.

Final 2007 Standings

George Washington 33
Thomas Jefferson 26
Abraham Lincoln 22
Teddy Roosevelt 0

2008 Presidents Race Champion: Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln Races to His 40th Presidents Race victory of 2008Many anticipated that Teddy Roosevelt would christen the new Nationals Park with an opening day presidents race victory. Unfortunately, Teddy was caught cheating in the first of many mishaps in 2008 which included among other things encounters with panthers, bananas, and Martha Washington. The big surprise was Abe Lincoln’s emergence as a dominant sprinter, leading many observers to speculate whether Abe was juicing. “Honest” Abe had no competition for the 2008 title. Only a final day rain-out curtailed his bid for a 50-win season.

Final 2008 Standings

Abraham Lincoln 49
George Washington 18
Thomas Jefferson 14
Teddy Roosevelt 0

Game-by-game results and highlights from 2008 can be found at the Presidents Race 2008 Results & Highlights page.

2009 Presidents Race Champion: Abe Lincoln

Washington Nationals racing president Abe LincolnAbe Lincoln continued his presidents race dominance in 2009, pulling away from the pack late in the season, and frequently taunting his opponents. Teddy passed the 250 loss milestone in July, and was distracted at various times by clowns, weather, and Twitter. That Cat returned to make several appearances, most notably when getting Teddy disqualified for “unauthorized use of a feline.” Teddy mysteriously missed 5 races due to injury late in the season, but his most notorious moment came on the road in Pittsburgh, when he was leveled by a racing pierogie on national television.

Final 2009 Standings

Abraham Lincoln 40
George Washington 22
Thomas Jefferson 21
Teddy Roosevelt 0

Game-by-game results and highlights from 2009 can be found at the Presidents Race 2009 Results & Highlights page.

2010 Presidents Race Champion: Abe Lincoln

Mr. Kool-Aid tackles Teddy RooseveltThe 2010 season kicked off with an injury in Teddy’s first race, and things went downhill from there, as Abe Lincoln held off furious runs from both Tom and George to lock up another title.

Along the way, things got dirty, with a number of on-field skirmishes, sometimes involving That Cat, the sponsor GEICO Gecko, mascot Screech’s mom, or visiting celebrities such as Brian from Family Guy, The Grinch, and Mr Kool Aid, but almost all involving Lincoln.

In July, Teddy let out his frustrations on Abe with a memorable right hook.

Final 2010 Standings

Abraham Lincoln 30
George Washington 29
Thomas Jefferson 28
Teddy Roosevelt 0

Game-by-game results and highlights from 2010 can be found at the Presidents Race 2010 Results and Highlights page.

2011 Presidents Race – Champion (tie): Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson

Jayson Werth interferes with the Nationals presidents race

Outfielder Jayson Werth attempts to interfere with the presidents race on the final 2011 homestand

The 2011 season included the debut of new patriotic jerseys, appearances by John F. Kennedy, pro wrestler John Cena, and That Cat, plus lobsters, monkeys, leprechauns, and more. But the season will most be remembered for the campaign of new Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, who declared his support for the Let Teddy Win movement early in the season, and later took things into his own hands, trying twice to stage a presidents race coup and even winning a race himself before finally giving in to a higher power.

Final 2011 Standings

Abraham Lincoln 30
Thomas Jefferson 30
George Washington 23
Jayson Werth 1
Teddy Roosevelt 0

Game-by-game results and highlights from the 2011 season can be found at the 2011 Results & Highlights page.

2012 Presidents Race – Champion: George Washington

Teddy Roosevelt Racing President dot drawing from page A1 of the Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2012

Dot drawing of Teddy Roosevelt that appeared on the front page of The Wall Street Journal

2012 was a breakthrough season for both the Nationals and for perpetual loser Teddy Roosevelt. As the team soared to the best record in Major League Baseball, pressure grew from all corners to Let Teddy Win. Competing players weighed in, law professors proposed legal remedies, the Orioles’ Adam Jones joined the movement, and calls for a Teddy victory came from The Washington Post to the Wall Street Journal to a Ken Burns-narrated video on ESPN.

After The White House issued a statement, the Nats turned the final homestand into a tribute to Teddy, and finally let him taste his first victory on the final game of the regular season. Teddy went on to win all three post-season races.

Along the way, Teddy attacked Pierogies and Birds, and ran into distractions including Batman, lobsters, apple piePopsicles and Twitter. The presidents treated fans to an entertaining week of Olympic tributes, and became a YouTube sensation by dancing Gangnam Style. The team briefly experimented with changing the direction of the race based on team wins, but scrapped the idea soon after.

Final 2012 Standings

George Washington 30
Abraham Lincoln 29
Thomas Jefferson 27
Teddy Roosevelt 4

Game-by-game results and highlights from the 2012 season can be found at the 2012 Results & Highlights page.

2013 Presidents Race – Introducing William Howard Taft

Nationals Racing President William Howard Taft

Fifth president “Bill” Taft is introduced to fans

In 2013, the Nationals introduced a fifth racing president, William Howard Taft. Neither Taft nor Roosevelt tasted victory early on, and they battled for last place in the standings. Meanwhile, the presidents were visited by Teddy’s great great grandson Winthrop, HBO’s VEEP Selina Myer, The Orioles Bird, The Racing Pierogies, That Cat, a giant cicada, Mr. Kool Aid, the Sharknado, Martha Washington, Sharky, the grounds crew, Teddy’s pet moose Bullee, a rally pigeon, and a dozen other mascots from the DC area..

Videos and race-by-race results can be found on the 2013 results and highlights page.

Final 2013 Standings

George Washington 25
Abraham Lincoln 23
Thomas Jefferson 13
William Howard Taft 11
Teddy Roosevelt 11

2014 Presidents Race – Teddy finally breaks through

Teddy wins presidents race beltThe 2014 season got off to an exciting start as Teddy Roosevelt won on opening day. It was the first time Teddy ever held the lead in the presidents race standings, and the Bull Moose really went on a tear after the all star break, maintaining a lead in the standings entering the season’s final month, then holding off a late charge by Abraham Lincoln to take his first presidents race season title. Meanwhile, the Nationals finished with the best record in the National League, and had a regular season record of 18-8 when Teddy Roosevelt won. Teddy won all three postseason races before the Nationals were eliminated from the playoffs.

Videos and race-by-race results for 2014 can still be found on the 2014 results and highlights page.

Final 2014 Standings

#26 Teddy Roosevelt  29
#16 Abraham Lincoln  25
#27 William Howard Taft  12
#3 Thomas Jefferson  11
#1 George Washington  10

*Includes 3 postseason races

2015 Presidents Race – Introducing Calvin Coolidge

Washington Nationals Calvin Coolidge Racing PresidentComing fresh off of Theodore Roosevelt’s first winning season in 2014, it appeared early the next season as if Thomas Jefferson might replace Teddy as the team’s lovable loser. Jefferson seemed to invent new ways to lose every night as he went winless for almost three months, but then TJ got into the win column when the team celebrated his alma mater. More significantly, a week later the Nationals introduced a sixth racing president on Independence Day weekend. Calvin Coolidge was sponsored by the White House Historical Association and ran in 45 races, winning a respectable 12 of them, before going into retirement at the end of the season.

Videos and race-by-race results for 2015 can be found on the 2015 results and highlights page.

Final 2015 Standings

#16 Abraham Lincoln  21
#1 George Washington  17
#26 Teddy Roosevelt  15
#27 William Howard Taft  14
#30 Calvin Coolidge  12
#3Thomas Jefferson   5

2016 Presidents Race – Introducing Herbert Hoover

Washington Nationals New Racing President Herbert Hoover HerbieFor 2016, visiting racing president Herbert Hoover joined the racing presidents as part of a promotion with the White House Historical Society, and won ten races during the season, but Teddy Roosevelt passed the newcomer in the standings early and never looked back, taking the regular season presidents race crown as the Nationals won the Nationals League East and went to the playoffs for the third time in five years. Along the way, race judge Screech the Eagle crossed the finish line for the first time, and when the Nats made the playoffs, the team attempted to end the curse talk, with mixed success.

Videos and race-by-race results for 2016 can be found on the 2016 results & highlights page.

Final 2016 Standings

 #26 Teddy Roosevelt   23
 #16 Abraham Lincoln   18
 #3 Thomas Jefferson   17
#1 George Washington   16
 #31 Herbert Hoover   10
 #27 William Howard Taft    9
 #00 Screech the Eagle    1

2017 Presidents Race – Back to the Basics


In 2017, Taft, Coolidge, and Hoover “retired” to the new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches

For the 2017 season, the Nationals brought the presidents race back to its roots when they announced that the fourth inning race at Nationals Park would go back to the original “Rushmore Four”: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.

The presidents who had been introduced between 2013 and 2016 — William Howard Taft, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover — all “retired” to Florida, not coincidentally just in time for the opening of the team’s new spring training facility at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach.

Taft, Coolidge, and Hoover ran their own 3-man version of the presidents race throughout spring training, while back up north, the original racing presidents renewed their tradition of not letting Teddy Roosevelt win.

Final 2017 Standings*

 #3 Thomas Jefferson 29
 #1 George Washington 29
 #16 Abraham Lincoln 25
 #00 Screech the Eagle   1
 #26 Teddy Roosevelt   0

*Includes 3 postseason races, all won by George Washington.

Videos and race-by-race results for 2017 can be found on the 2017 results & highlights page.

2018 Season
After a promising start to 2018, Teddy is back to his losing ways. Follow the current season’s race-by-race results on the Presisidents Race Standings page.

More Fun Facts

The presidents race started on video. The predecessor to the presidents race was the PNC Dollar Derby, introduced in the 2005 season as an animated race on the RFK Stadium video scoreboard, featuring famous figures on American currency. Rooting interests were tied to sections of the stadium. George Washington ($1 bill, orange seats), Abraham Lincoln ($5 bill, red seats), and Alexander Hamilton ($10 bill, yellow seats) raced in go-karts around Washington, DC, with one of them always crashing before the end of the race. In 2006, the Dollar Derby was replaced by the presidents race, featuring the four Mt. Rushmore presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt), but it remained a scoreboard-only feature until mid-season.

RFK Stadium Grand Reopening July 21, 2006The first live presidents race was held on July 21, 2006, when the Washington Nationals hosted a “Grand Reopening” of RFK Stadium after the Lerner family had been named as the team’s new owners by major league baseball. In a demonstration of commitment to the Washington Nationals fans, the team kicked off a “Paint the Town Red” weekend, during which fans received giveaways and new investments in the fan experience were unveiled. These included a new food court at RFK stadium as well the live-action costumed racing presidents, a brainchild of then entertainment manager Josh Golden. The Nationals defeated the Chicago Cubs 7-6.

Washington Nationals Racing President Herbert Hoover Wins

Visiting president Herbert Hoover in 2016

The presidents race field was expanded three times, then contracted in 2017. In 2013, William Howard Taft was added to the original “Rushmore Four.” A sixth “visiting president” was later added as part of a joint promotion with the White House Historical Association, which honors (and promotes) a different president each year. In mid-season 2015, the first visiting president Calvin “Cal” Coolidge joined the field. In 2016, he was replaced with Herbert “Herbie” Hoover. The sponsorship was to continue through 2017 when the WHHA honored Franklin Roosevelt, but the Roosevelt family was not supportive of a racing FDR.

Racing presidents “retire” to West Palm Beach. In 2017, the Nationals opened the new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the team announced that Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover would “retire” to the new park, where they would hold a presidents race during spring training games. On the day before the park opened, they “retired” William Howard Taft as well, bringing more competition to Florida, and restoring the Nationals Park cadre to the original Rushmore four.

Teddy Roosevelt holds up the Presidents Race Championship BeltA “presidents belt” was awarded from 2014 – 2016. To kick off the 2014 season, the Nationals introduced the presidents race belt, a wrestling-style trophy handed to the winner after every race. Teddy Roosevelt won the first-ever presidents race belt on April 4, 2014, and it was handed to the winner after every race for three years. The belt was retired after the 2016 season and now the winner is handed the checkered flag to carry off the field.

The presidents race winner is not always predetermined. While some theatrics are occasionally planned in advance, the race more often than not has been real. More than a dozen years after creating the racing presidents, the Nats’ former entertainment manager Josh Golden told DCist that the original plan had been to have George Washington win the first race, then leave it to chance, but after four races, when Teddy Roosevelt had yet to win and some fans complained, he decided to “make it a thing”; so from July 26, 2006 to October 3, 2012, there was only one rule handed down by the Nationals: Teddy was not allowed to win.

Randy Carfagno ProductionsGiant Bette Midler Puppet - Randy Carfagno ProductionsThe racing president costumes were created by Randy Carfagno Productions, a New York City manufacturer of theatrical puppets and costumes. Carfagno’s inspiration for the presidents was a giant puppet he’d created for a 1999 Bette Midler concert.

The costumes are fashioned from foam, fabric, fleece, vacuform, netting, and aluminum. When a costume malfunctions, it must be sent back to New York, as happened during the 2009 season. The Nats racing presidents wear regular sneakers instead of cleats during the race, because they spend so much time cruising the Nationals Park stands before and during games.

Washington Nationals Presidents Race FaceliftA second set of presidents was created in 2010. When the Washington Nationals returned from the All Star break and an extended road trip in July, 2010, the racing presidents received a significant facelift. The team declined to comment on the change, but it appeared to be designed to make the presidents look more friendly to the kids. Before the facelift, only Teddy and Tom sported grins, but after the botox treatment, all the presidents were smiling.

The “classic” presidents returned to the field and ran nearly all the races for the 2011 season, with the friendlier, “new look” presidents saved for occasional public appearances. A year later, the 2012 season opened with the “new look” presidents once again taking center stage, where they stayed only through the first homestand, but eventually came back as what appear to be permanent replacements.

Teddy’s costume is significantly shorter than the other racing presidents. Teddy is 9′ tall. George Washington is 9’5″. Abe Lincoln is 10′ 0″, and Thomas Jefferson is the tallest at 10′ 1″. As the most top-heavy president, Jefferson tends to fall more often than the others. The height of the newest president, William Howard Taft, has not been disclosed.

Nationals Presidents race reverse direction patriotic uniforms starting lineThe racing presidents’ uniforms change daily to match those of the team. The racing presidents wear traditional period costumes on most Sundays, and Washington Nationals uniforms on other days to match those worn by the team on that day. These include home whites, alternate red jerseys, military uniforms, and patriotic jerseys. At least once or twice each summer, usually on a particularly hot day, they forgo uniforms and wear Hawaiian shirts.

Specific presidents are not “operated” by the same person for each game. The many members of the mascot team switch off from day to day. Special guests were occasionally invited to partake in the race during the first season, but this practice was curtailed after the presidents race soared in popularity, presumably to make sure nobody would let Teddy win.

Teddy is disqualified after passing the other presidents in a golf cart, July 23, 2006. Photo by flickr user alykatTeddy Roosevelt was disqualified many times. During Teddy’s historic losing streak, Nationals fans were teased on several occasions when Roosevelt used illegal tactics to win the presidents race (descending a zip line, riding a golf cart or rickshaw…); however on each such occasion he was immediately disqualified, and his winless streak continued. In the 2008 inaugural game at Nationals Park, Teddy attempted to take a shortcut across the Nationals Park outfield. Nationals mascot Screech, who judges from the finish line, disqualified Teddy in 2008 for cutting the outfield corner and for using a motor scooter. In 2009, he was inexplicably disqualified for “unauthorized use of a feline”, and in the 2010 pre-season, it was unnecessary roughness.

That Cat interfering with Teddy Roosevelt and the Washington Nationals Presidents RaceInterference by other costumed characters cost Teddy Roosevelt a number of races over the years. “Guest” appearances in the presidents race have been made by dogs, bananas, clowns, lobsters, monkeys, leprechauns, sausages, various college mascots, the Easter Bunny, and John F. Kennedy; but Teddy’s most frequent nemesis for several years was a panther who first appeared in April, 2008 and returned two months later wearing a red shirt with Teddy’s name crossed out on the back. “That Cat” returned to interfere many times from 2008 through 2013.

There have been 18 presidents race doubleheaders. On the rare occasion that a baseball game extends to 13 innings or more, the racing presidents return to the ball field in the middle of the 13th inning to run another presidents race.

There were three such extra races at RFK Stadium before the team moved to Nationals Park. The first of those was on June 20, 2008, during a 14-inning game against the Texas Rangers. Others occured on September 19, 2008 vs. the San Diego Padres, on April 24, 2010 during a 13-inning loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, on August 26, 2010 during a 13-inning victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, and on September 17, 2011 during a 13-inning affair vs. the Florida Marlins.

The 2012 season brought three double-headers: during a 13-inning win over the Cincinnati Reds on April 13, 2012, during a 14-inning loss to the New York Yankees on June 16, 2012, and during a 13-inning victory over the Braves early in the morning of August 21, 2012. Two years later in 2014, there were extra races during a 15-inning loss to the Cincinnati Reds on May 19, a 13-inning loss to the Atlanta Braves on June 20, and in an epic 18-inning playoff loss on October 4.

2016 brought three bonus races: on April 24 (16 innings), July 1 (13 innings), and July 17 (18 innings). A three-year drought followed, and was finally broken on August 17, 2019, when the Nats took a home game into the 14th inning vs. Milwaukee.

Presidents Race Bobblehead Night - Washington NationalsPresidents race bobblehead nights were featured during the 2007 season, and were an instant hit with Washington Nationals fans at RFK Stadium. Attendance on the racing presidents bobblehead nights averaged 33,459 — a 42% increase over that season’s average attendance on non-bobblehead nights. The fifth racing president, William Howard Taft, finally got his own bobblehead night on August 17, 2014 and Calvin Coolidge got one on September 22, 2015.

The racing presidents have a 4-2 record on their bobblehead nights. In the 2007 season, George Washington (July 4), Thomas Jefferson (August 4) , and Abe Lincoln (August 18), each won the presidents race on their bobblehead nights, leading many to speculate that Teddy Roosevelt’s first victory would finally arrive on his bobblehead night. On September 1, 2007, Teddy was carried in on a throne as the other presidents were held back by secret service agents, but the throne was dropped and George ran by him to keep Teddy’s winless streak alive. Taft would later win on his bobblehead night in 2014, but Calvin Coolidge dropped the ball on his bobblehead night in 2015.

Washington Nationals T-Shirt TuesdayThe racing presidents have a 3-1 record on their “T-Shirt Tuesdays.” In 2008, the Nationals introduced “Free T-Shirt Tuesdays”, and gave away racing president t-shirts on selected nights. Again, George Washington (May 20), Thomas Jefferson (June 3) , and Abe Lincoln (July 8), each won the presidents race on their T-Shirt Tuesdays, but Teddy did not come through. On August 12, 2008, Teddy gave up a late lead as he was distracted by a panther that ran onto the field.

Nationals Presidents Race - Thomas Jefferson carries the flag on Independence DayThe presidents race has it’s own Independence Day tradition. In 2009, the Nationals began an annual tradition of hosting an 11:00am home game on Independence Day, and the corresponding presidents race became more of a processional, in which the U.S. flag is carried from wire to wire by one president. From 2009 through 2012, that president was the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, who led wire to wire carrying the flag, then issued his declaration. In 2013, George Washington took over flag-bearing responsibilities, and each year since then the presidents have trotted in the order of their presidencies, behind the father of our country. In 2018, they began passing the flag and exchanging the lead during the race, with George carrying it over the finish line.

GEICO became the official sponsor of the racing presidents in 2006. In 2006, GEICO became the official sponsor of the racing presidents. To kick off the race, a costumed gecko enters the field along with Washington Nationals mascot Screech, and the two characters wait at the temporary finish line for the costumed presidents. The Gecko has rarely participated in the race itself, but it has twice been run over by the presidents at the finish line.

The presidents race route and distance has been changed three times. In 2006 and 2007 at RFK Stadium, entered the park with a running start from a tunnel in the right field corner. The straight-line race route followed the first base foul line from right field toward a finish line near home plate. With the move to the new Nationals Park in 2008, the presidents were introduced individually, and the race route was lengthened to stretch from center field to the far edge of the Nationals’ dugout, after which the racing presidents would exit the field into the stands in Section 127. Unfortunately, the new route lasted through just one homestand. After Major League Baseball complained that the race was delaying the game, the route was shortened and the live introductions of each president was scrapped.

Washington Nationals racing presidents begin the presidents race at Nationals ParkFor the last game of the 2011 season, after Nationals players tried twice to interfere on Roosevelt’s behalf, the team reversed the course to run along the left field warning track, a route that was repeated for the 2012 season opener. The Nationals began changing the route more regularly in 2012. A superstitious plan to switch directions only after the Nationals lost a game was scrapped after two homestands that featured lengthy winning streaks. Ever since, the reverse course has been run sparingly during the season.

Tom Petty Runnin Down a DreamThe presidents race to music by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Since 2013, the race has been accompanied by Tom Petty’s song “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” In previous years, the team has played Los Lobos 1987 cover of the 1958 hit “Come On, Let’s Go” by Richie Valens. As the presidents leave the field, they historically were accompanied by the 1982 hit “I Ran” by English new wave band A Flock of Seagulls. In 2011, the Nationals promised new victory songs which would vary depending on who wins, but it never happened.

The presidents race has twice been named “Best On-Field Promotion” in all of professional sports., a web site focused on sports entertainment and promotions, recognized the Washington Nationals racing presidents with its Golden Steagle Award for best contest or on-field promotion of 2007. The presidents race was nominated again in 2008, then won the award again in 2009, and again in 2012.

George Washington won the final presidents race at RFK Stadium. At the Washington Nationals’ final home game at RFK Stadium on September 23, 2007, many fans expected to see Teddy Roosevelt finally win the presidents race. However, Teddy appeared on the stadium video screen at the new Nationals Park — apparently having arrived for the race at the wrong location. George Washington won easily to complete the 2007 presidents race season and extend Teddy’s losing streak into another year.

George Washington won the first presidents race at Nationals Park. On Saturday, March 22, 2008, the Washington Nationals hosted a limited-attendance baseball game for a few thousand fans at Nationals Park between the George Washington University and Saint Josephs University baseball teams. Since this was a “dry run” designed to test all the concessions and in-game entertainment, fans in attendance were treated to the first “unofficial” presidents race at Nationals Park. To the chants of “Let Teddy Win!”, Teddy came up short as George Washington was first to cross the tape. Eight days later, at the Washington Nationals’ inaugural regular season game at Nationals Park, George also captured the first official presidents race, beating Teddy at the wire.

Teddy Roosevelt poses with Let Teddy Win! fans in the Nationals Park centerfield plazaYou can meet and pose for photos with the racing presidents at Nationals Park. The Nationals’ stadium offers fans many opportunities to meet and pose for photos with the racing presidents. In 2010, Teddy started greeting fans before the games outside the Navy Yard Metro stop on Half Street NE. Approximately 30 to 60 minutes before the game, all of the racing presidents can be found greeting visitors and posing for photos inside the ticket gates at Nationals Park’s main centerfield plaza entrance. After the presidents race is completed in the middle of the 4th inning, the racing presidents return to the Nationals Park concourse behind section 131, where they pose as a group with fans through the 5th inning.

31 Responses

  1. it’s well known by all that teddy roosevelt is an extremely athletic man, right? he founded numerous initiatives for activities outdoors and in nature… exhorted boys to be active and manly… just go read his quotes on the monument at teddy roosevelt island. There is something wrong… someone is putting something in his food to sedate him, or something.

  2. It’s well known that the TRUE stadium race is, of course, the fine racing sausages of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You guys can have your little Presidents thing, that’s cool, we can share. I hear Pittsburgh races some dumplings or something – a little too “food” for comfort, but again, the good people of Wisconsin will be benevolent.

    But you call up the website that rated your race the best in the country and demand a recount. Pay some respect to your elders!

  3. Personally, I think racing Presidents is just a little more plausible that racing sausages. I mean seriously, I’ve never seen a sausage even run before.

  4. You can’t really call those computer-generated go kart races “presidents’ races,” though. Hamilton got the ten dollar bill, but not the presidency.

  5. I don’t know what’s better – racing prezs or racing sausages….But they’re both pretty freakin’ sweet. I’d like to see a spectacle like that at Coors field, but I’m not sure what they’d trot around.

  6. As a lifelong “TR” fan, I’d like to post my theory on Teddy’s seemingly endless losing streak. I believe his first race victory will come once the Nationals make their inaugural appearance in the playoffs. The anticipation of finally seeing him win, from a public relations perspective, would be best viewed in the light of post-season play. Sadly, this means, we will be waiting for Teddy’s moment of glory for quite some time. I’d also like to point out (thank you Andrew) that Teddy has beaten the Orioles Bird in a head-to-head race, but this victory was not counted as it was deemed an exhibition. Keep the faith Gnats fans! Teddy and our hometown nine will be victorius!

  7. The “unsanctioned” race where Teddy won against the Orioles Bird is covered here.

  8. It’s a shame that one of our greatest presidents is portrayed as a buffoon. I realize that it is meant to be in good fun but I grew up admiring TR and his many diverse accomplishments. Back on Long Island, we visited his summer home, “Sagamore Hill” in Oyster Bay. He was obviously influencial enough as a statesman to be enshrined on Mt. Rushmore. Yet in DC, we see him as some sort of punchline to a joke. Totally disgraceful!!!!!

    • Sal,

      I think Teddy may have been the only one of the 4 who would have found the humor in all of this.

  9. If the Nats really want to end their perpetual loosing streak and are willing to try anything, how about abandoning the Teddy always loosing schtick, and let him win? Maybe a future where both Teddy and the Nats are winners is an easier one to get to than any of the Nats winners, Teddy still a loser future . . .

  10. Ladies and gentlemen. What we have witnessed here is something that will be talked about for many years and will come to be known as the “Curse of Colonel Roosevelt.” The Washington Nationals will not achieve success on the field until AFTER the curse is broken, not before as some have suggested by TR winning a post season Presidents race. There will not BE a post season until TR is vindicated.

  11. Taken out by a pirogie! I am afraid TR does not desrve to win if he can be knocked out by a potato dumpling. This is the true disgrace.

  12. go caps

  13. Great site! Does anyone know the name of the the makers of the racing presidents.

  14. […] not a TR fan but I can’t support the smear campaign Washington is waging against him.   The Nationals are working on some sort of conspiracy to tarnish the legacy of Teddy Roosevelt.  I find it rather […]

  15. […] There was some speculation this past weekend that Teddy might win the Presidents Race on Memorial Day. Alas, Teddy did not win that one either. He remains defeated, the only one of the four racing presidents to have not won the race since it began back in 2006. […]

  16. I believe that the race if fixed just like horse races used to be

  17. Maybe they will let him win before loss 500 hits?

  18. […] DC resident that she is, Mrs H has been following not so much the Nationals as their enormous felt president mascots’ legraces and the shenanigans that ensue — and in particular the shockingly unjust treatment of our […]

  19. […] Teddy Roosevelt never wins the Presidential race. […]

  20. […] “Let Teddy Win” is possibly coming to fruition. Baseball is a game of optimism… every team is number 1 before the first pitch of the first opening day game. Every fan truly believes this year is the year. Some fans and teams are spoiled… yes you Yankee fans… some teams and fans are constantly disappointed… yes you Cubs. Regardless, baseball is a sport and passion that is a long and sometimes torturous event. April to October. 162 games, day-in and day-out… the games seem to pile on to one another, and before the 2012 season… the losses seemed to pile on and pile on. […]

  21. […] won plenty of times, Theodore Roosevelt has never won. Ever. Despite the fact that they’ve been racing since July of 2006.  There even was a Ken Burns mini-documentary about it on ESPN, where Senator John McCain declared […]

  22. […] you win every race (and, other than the inaugural season when Washington won, Lincoln has, in fact, either won or tied for overall wins). Teddy dug a ditch — actually, he told other people to dig a ditch. Washington made up the […]

  23. Senator — with respect, you need to know that Teddy is NEVER going to win this race. Too many things going against it.

    First of all, is TR himself. Several times, I’ve seen Teddy in the lead, then veer into the stands to talk with some voter who beckoned to him — irresistible to any politician. Another time he wanted a hot dog. Although a great hunter and outdoorsman, he is kind of clumsy. He has tripped over bats, tarps, gloves — and once over nothing. A blade of grass, I think.

    Second, as long as great Americans like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln trip him … shove him aside …ellbow past him .. step on his heels — he cannot win. Once, the noble Thomas Jefferson pulled Teddy down from behind by the collar! In football, it would be a personal foul. In politics, all’s fair.

    Senator, Teddy Roosevelt will simply NEVER win this race. Between his own varying attentions, and his surprisingly less than scrupulous opponents, he simply can’t.

    Ask Victoria’s Secret to sell full-coverage khaki jump suits … ask the birds to fly backward … ask the Man in the Moon to kiss the Sun … ask Barry Obama to be responsible, truthful, and fair – and to take responsibility for a 16 Trillion Dollar Deficit … but don’t ever expect Theodore Roosevelt to win that foot race at Nationals Park. The Laws of Nature, Physics, and Politics just won’t have it!


  24. Jeez, do I stand corrected!

    Teddy just won!! For the first time! Last day of the 2012 season!

    [too bad, it was a great gag — for Teddy to never win….]

    I bet he NEVER wins again….

  25. Did you guys know that Teddy also ran the Marine Corps Marathon? He ran in 2009…

  26. One great aspect about the President’s Race, besides showing icons of this great country cheating and winning by pushing downing the other guy (you know, getting ahead by any means – – something we need to teach the children), is it adds in a big way to the carnival atmosphere of Nationals Park. Baseball can only survive by offering more than baseball. The 7th inning stretch needs to include a tractor pull in center field.

  27. […] bit faster. Believe us, it’s true. If you don’t believe us, check out the blog dedicated to the Racing Presidents. Even Fox Sports writer Ken Rosenthal is campaigning to race with the […]

  28. […] small bit faster. Believe us, it’s true. If we don’t trust us, check out a blog dedicated to a Racing Presidents. Even Fox Sports author Ken Rosenthal is campaigning to competition with a […]

  29. […] for the Presidents Race! Former President William Howard “Bill” Taft joined Mount Rushmore presidents George, […]

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