There may not be a tougher job in sports than that of a horse racing announcer.
Between the fast-paced nature of the sport and the colorful names we often see from its top competitors, it would probably be easier auctioneering with a mouth full of peanut butter.
But those interesting names are also one of the unique aspects of horse racing that makes it so appealing. A dead heat between “Buttercup” and “Sunshine” coming down the stretch just wouldn’t be all that exciting.
Naming a thoroughbred race horse isn’t all fun and games, though. According to jockeyclub.com, there are several rules with some very strange restrictions for naming a horse. The following outlines names ineligible for use:
1. Names consisting of more than 18 letters (spaces and punctuation marks count as letters)
2. Names consisting entirely of initials such as C.O.D., F.O.B., etc
3. Names ending in "filly," "colt," "stud," "mare," "stallion," or any similar horse-related term
4. Names consisting entirely of numbers. Numbers above thirty may be used if they are spelled out
5. Names ending with a numerical designation such as "2nd" or "3rd," whether or not such a designation is spelled out
6. Names clearly having commercial, artistic or creative significance
7. Names that are suggestive or have a vulgar or obscene meaning; names considered in poor taste; or names that may be offensive to religious, political or ethnic groups
And that’s just half of them.
In addition, all names must be approved by the Jockey Club. It’s no wonder owners have to get a little creative in naming their horses.
The result is a list of increasingly interesting names, and there are some good ones in this year’s Kentucky Derby.
Let’s take a look at the list of thoroughbreds in this year’s Run for the Roses and highlight a few with especially interesting names.
|Will Take Charge||Lukas||17||20-1||95|
|Lines of Battle||O'Brien||11||30-1||74|
|Falling Sky||Terranova II||13||50-1||92|
Goldencents has one of the most apropos names of any horse in the Derby. An incredibly gifted colt with big odds to cash in on Saturday, Goldencents could provide a big payday for R.A.P. Racing and part owner Rick Pitino.
Racing thoroughbreds often share a similar name with one of their parents. In this case, Goldencents was bred from Into Mischief and Golden Works.
At 5-1 to win the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Doug O’Neill-trained colt could pay out handsomely for those who choose to bet on it Saturday. Its Beyer rating (measuring speed and performance on particular tracks) is tied with Verrazano for highest in the field.
At 15-1, it will be a lot of people’s lucky day if the three-year-old colt triumphs at Churchill Downs.
Itsmyluckyday is a longshot to win Saturday, but it isn’t necessarily a bad bet. Just behind Verrazano and Goldencents in Beyer rating, the colt has shown incredible sprinting speed and the ability to run from any post position on the track.
Bred from Lawyer Ron and Viva La Slew, there’s not really much familial connection in Itsmyluckyday’s name, but the meaning is fairly obvious. Trilogy Stables and Laurie Plesa would be feel very lucky if their horse won on Saturday.
Giant Finish’s name wasn’t meant to be ironic, but it will take a truly giant finish for the colt to win at Churchill Downs.
A 50-1 longshot in this race, the three-year-old son of Frost Giant certainly faces an uphill battle to win in the Run for the Roses. Competing in the seventh post position (at which only eight horses have won) won’t do much to increase its chances.
Owner Andrew Cohen doesn’t have a ton of experience with horses in big races (h/t bloodhorse.com), but as is the theme every year at the Derby, anything can happen when the gates open. Giant Finish could live up to its name with a surprising performance in the biggest race of the year.