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Racehorse Names

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You may think that parents are doing some strange things with names these days: odd spellings of normal names, combinations of names, gender-bending names, words-as-names...but parents have nothing on Racehorse owners when it comes to creating the strangest, most unique and sometimes downright cruel names. Unlike most parents, racehorse owners will often give their horse a name that is meant as a joke— a horse named Breakwind, or Accident, is surely a victim of this. Sometimes the joke extends through generations, for example, Insomnia out of Nightmare and Wakeful out of Insomnia. Or sometimes, as with human babies, an unsuspecting foal will be saddled with a combination of its parents names. For example, the offspring of the sire Dracula and the dam Santa’s Vixen has to live with the name Neck the Halls, and the offspring of Western Cent and Langfuhr becomes Tenfuhrcent. Fortunately, horses don’t have to worry about playground bullies.

It may seem as though there are no limits when it comes to naming a horse, but there are in fact strict guidelines that must be observed. Names are limited to eighteen characters, spaces included, which accounts for some of the squishingtogetherofwords and some of the odd spellings. Names cannot step on any copyright or trademark laws, so unfortunately you’ll never be able to bet that Kleenex will outrun Duracell. Also, names of especially famous horses such as Seabiscuit, Seattle Slew or Man O’War cannot be used again, even after the horse’s retirement or death. [1] Names must be checked against current usage, and a name cannot be repeated within seventeen years of the birth of the first horse, ostensibly so they’ll never have a chance to be on the same racetrack together. Also, you cannot name your horse with a normal first name and surname [1] (unless it can also slip by as a Pop Culture reference, such as Harry Potter). Each country has an organization that is in charge of overseeing the naming of Thoroughbreds, so that regulations are met and nothing terribly obscene gets through. In the United States, it’s the Jockey Club, which has been established for over a century; in Australia, it is the Racing NSW. [1] But even with all these hoops to jump through, horses still end up with some of the most ridiculous and odd names.

Let’s start with some fortunate horses who had kind (or at least tasteful) owners. We’ll go downhill from there.

Pretty Names

  • Native Dancer
  • Northern Dancer
  • Whirlaway
  • Desert Orchid
  • Shadow Leader
  • Triple Crown
  • Dancer’s Image
  • Black Gold
  • Desert Prince
  • Loyal Lyric
  • Dulcinea
  • Crested Jewel
  • Sunbeam
  • Picturesque
  • Musical Gem
  • Summer Garden
  • Tango in the Night

Political Names

  • Impeachment
  • Amnesty
  • Democrat
  • Chadsanddimples
  • Florida Recount
  • No More Chads
  • Dubya
  • Freedom Fries
  • Gee Dubya
  • Impeachabill
  • Lewinsky (out of Dangerous Lady)
  • Iraqi Freedom
  • Shock and All (by Presidential Order)
  • War On Terror
  • The White House

Pop Culture Names

  • Harry Potter
  • Capote
  • Hello Newman
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Soprano Story
  • Star Wars (grandson of Star Trek)
  • Stevie Wonderboy
  • Norman’s Mania
  • Shower Scene
  • Red Rum
  • Rorshac
  • Academy Awards
  • The Oscars
  • Awards Ceremony

Species Confusion

  • Tabasco Cat
  • Goose Egg
  • Holy Bull
  • Gallant Fox
  • Greyhound
  • Bull Lea
  • Chorus Lion
  • Lion Hunter
  • Kangaroo
  • Salmon Chanted
  • Salmon Leap

Funny (or Dirty) Names

  • Vagrant (out of Lazy)
  • Breakwind
  • Odor in the Court
  • Prenup
  • Homewrecker
  • Alphabet Soup (out of Illiterate)
  • Nag Nag Nag
  • Fuss Fuss Fuss (out of Nag Nag Nag)
  • Snap (out of Crackle)
  • Victory Smile (out of Fluoride)
  • Wakeful (out of Insomnia)
  • Insomnia (out of Nightmare)
  • Rambling Willie
  • Accident
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Expletive
  • Fangsforthememory
  • Foreplay
  • Hot As Hell
  • In a Pickle
  • Left at the Alter (out of Runaway Bride)
  • Success Express
  • Hula Chief
  • Let’s Elope
  • Boogie
  • Your Place Or Mine


Author: Sarena Emily Levinson

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