Kentucky Derby Horse Names 2013: Most Memorable Monikers This Year
Sure, it might make sense to handicap the Kentucky Derby field with hard-hitting analysis of form, but there is something to be said about letting it all ride on names.
Soon, there will be a grand debate of post positions, trainers and the length of Churchill Downs and how it might benefit some thoroughbreds.
Here is the antithesis to that form of analysis, which is more in keeping with the manner that I use to make my picks at the race track.
I take a look at the names and sort them out accordingly.
Of course, this form of handicapping is purely subjective, so feel free to blast my rankings or offer your favorite names from this year's magnificent field in the comments section below.
All odds based on Bovada.com as of May 1.
Jockey: Gary Stevens
Let us start with the nadir of the Kentucky Derby and horse monikers. I prefer to ignore the image of an animal with a yoke over its neck and instead imagine an ox getting shot out of a bow. That image is far more metal.
Jockey: Garrett Gomez
ESPN informs a fairly bored contingent of horse-name lovers that this horse is named after owner David Wilkenfeld's parents, Vivienne and Jack.
While this is a respectable way to honor one's parents, I have to down vote anyone who names his horse in the same way that the media name pop-culture romances. Brangelina, Khlomar and now Vyjack. I will see myself out, thank you.
18. Falling Sky
Jockey: Luis Saez
Falling Sky may be out in front of the competition early. That is, if you buy into the initial reports floating around the Derby.
Still, I won't be surprised if Falling Sky delivers the most depressing performance of the day. Why not just name him Eeyore?
Jockey: John Velazquez
Verrazano comes in as one of the favorites, but we have to say his name leaves something to be desired. USA Today schools us properly with, "Verrazano was named for the double-decker suspension bridge connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn. Most of his owners live in the New York metropolis."
Sorry, I sort of dozed off during that fanciful tale of a bridge and the location of the horse's owners. The fact that Verrazano is so close to Vezzini hurts the contender by comparison.
Jockey: Kevin Krigger
I have to say I initially enjoyed the name until I realized how many puns we would get from columnists offering a bet that this horse made "golden sense."
Now my head just hurts.
KentuckyDerby.com reminds us this horse comes from the mare Golden Works, so the name makes perfect sense now. Wait, damn it!
15. Java's War
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
I am sure this name resonates well with many of you. I just don't see anything terrifying in an imaginary kerfuffle with the barista over the skim milk in your latte.
As KentuckyDerby.com notes, Java's War is out of a horse named Java, who produced a previous stakes performer called Coffee Bar. I will assume the next contender will be aptly named Orange Mocha Frappuccino.
Jockey: Rosie Napravnik
As best we can tell, the name comes from Mylute's sire Midnight Lute, which begs the question of why they didn't take advantage of the much better-sounding Midnight for the horse. Then again, I don't want to offend the lute players in the audience, who are renowned for their ferocity.
13. Will Take Charge
Jockey: Jon Court
I am sure this name is meant to invoke a sense of confidence amid the formidable field. Pardon me, but all I could think of were athletes hitting the turf like they had been shot by a sniper. Here's to hoping there is no flopping come Saturday.
12. Lines of Battle
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Oh, I see you working.
KentuckyDerby.com reports owner Joe Allen has raced other horses with the names Dynaformer, War Front and Political Force, so we assume the man has a thing for militaristic monikers.
He seems to be running out of ideas with Lines of Battle, though. We may be one horse away from Bang Bang or Pachoo Pachoo as a name.
Jockey: Joel Rosario
As the Washington Post reports, the name here means globe. I was really hoping to find out that owner Claude "Shug" McGaughey was just really into raves and dabbled in the passing of orbs in the wee hours of the night.
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Coming off the NFL draft and heading into the grand debate around the Kentucky Derby, this name couldn't be more fitting for sports fans.
Coming in at 40/1, I can see why owner Repole Stable might want analysis to remain at an absolute minimum.
9. Palace Malice
Jockey: Mike Smith
I can't find any confirmation that owner Cot Campbell intended to remind us of that fateful day when the formerly named Ron Artest went into the stands to offer Pistons fans free glimpses of his fists, but that is the image that comes to mind.
Let's just hope Palace Malice has a bit more sense than NBA players.
8. Normandy Invasion
Jockey: Javier Castellano
As NBC Sports points out, the name is "in honor of the Allies' massive amphibious assault that commenced on D-Day, June 6, 1944." Go ahead and try to hate on the horse and his chances now.
7. Frac Daddy
Jockey: Victor Lebron
This is an instant hit as far as I am concerned. You can throw "daddy" at the end of anything and make it sound marvelous—as we once realized with "Mack Daddy" (RIP).
Might I suggest Daddy Frac for the next horse from Magic City Thoroughbred Partners? It could wear backward jeans for extra swagger.
Jockey: Calvin Borel
Revolutionary is the kind of horse name that makes you want to kick down the figurative door of life and get down to business, even while wearing a floppy hat and sipping on a mint julep.
5. Giant Finish
Jockey: Jose Espinoza
Welcome Giant Finish to the field. As ESPN reports, Giant Finish just barely made the field and had no rider as of Tuesday. With a name like that, the horse better do more than merely walk across the finish line. I need something with far more pizazz—perhaps a moonwalk trot is in order.
Jockey: Elvis Trujillo
Oh, is it now?
It's well within reason that Itsmyluckyday can live up to his fortuitous name and finish ahead of the field. If so, I'll really need help with a Three Amigos salute from Trujillo.
3. Black Onyx
Jockey: Joe Bravo
Any way you slice it, this is a bad name. By bad, I mean good, as in I heart it. If this name were a lovely lady, I would invite her to coffee and regale her with my knowledge of the Star Wars universe.
It might invoke images of the beautiful stone for you; I choose to remember the rap group that got me through my more awkward high school phase.
2. Golden Soul
Jockey: Robby Albarado
A late addition brings one of the best names in the field, as it reminds me of the end of the important piece of film history known as The Last Dragon. With a name like that, I am expecting anything. Let's just hope anything happens.