“Failure is the most often heard expression in Hungary today — failure, mistake, pessimism. When even a horse is able to make a miracle from nowhere, it’s a sign of hope that we can get out from the desperate situation we are now in.”
That’s Victor Orban, leader of Hungary’s Fidesz Party, talking about Overdose, the race horse that’s captured the beleagured Hungarian imagination. Overdose’s owner purchased him as an afterthought–for the meager price of $3,500–and despite being, in his trainer’s words “short” and “kind of ugly,” the horse has since gone on to win 12 races in 12 starts. In the process he’s come to be known as the “Hungarian Seabiscuit.” For a country facing a particularly grim economic future, Overdose has become a galvanizing force:
There is a clear patriotic tilt to the horse’s reception. He rode out Sunday with an honor guard of six flag-bearing riders dressed as Hussars, the famous Hungarian light cavalry, as tens of thousands screamed.
“For us Hungarians, it’s a big deal,” said Livia Nagy, 23, one of the thousands who came out for the race. “Overdose is something we can be proud of.”