Earlier this week we featured a story on the strict and strange rules involved in naming a thoroughbred racehorse.
Now that the 2017 Kentucky Derby is less than 24 hours away, we thought we’d feature how each of the 20 horses racing at Churchill Downs got their own unique names!
Three little-known towns provided the inspiration for a trio of horses in this year’s race.
Gunnevera is named for a small town in Spain special to owners, Jaime Diaz Mengotti and Venezuelans Solomon Del-Valle and Guillermo Guerra.
Girvin is also named after his owner’s hometown – a tiny little Texas hamlet with a population of just 30!
McCraken‘s fun name is a tribute to owner Brad, Grady’s slightly bigger Kansas hometown (pop. 190) where he grew up on a cattle ranch.
Several other contenders have been named for their epic dams and sires:
Classic Empire’s strong, sturdy name is a combination tribute to his dam Sambuca Classica and grandsire Empire Maker.
Irish War Cry is out of Irish Sovereign.
Practical Joke is sired by Into Michief and out of Halo Humor.
State of Honor’s sire is To Honor and Serve and his dam is State Cup.
Sonneteer is sired by Midnight Lute, hence his musical name.
Untrapped is sired by Trappe Shot.
Tapwrit’s sire is Tapit, whose own name came from a combination of sire, Pulpit and dam, Tap Your Heels.
Patch – everybody’s favorite one-eyed contender – was actually named before he lost his eye. Calumet manager Eddie Kane said the name was a play on his sire, Union Rags.
Hence was a really good looking horse, “hence,” he should be fast, Kane said.
Fast and Accurate is the motto of Northern Kentucky pain doctor Kendall Hansen. “First we submitted Fast and Furious, but they wouldn’t allow it because of the movie,” Hansen told the Lexington Herald Leader. “I always tell my patients when I describe my procedures, I say ‘I’m really fast and accurate,’ it just came out and it stuck.”
Battle of Midway was given his name because owner, Rick Porter loves the U.S. military, and the Battle of Midway in 1942 was a turning point for the Allied forces in the Pacific theater during World War II.
Irap was treated for joint issues with Interluekin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein therapy before receiving his name. The van driver saw the word IRAP on his papers and assumed it was his name. Owner Paul Reddam decided to keep it.
Gormley‘s owner, Jerry Moss named him for British sculptor Antony Gormley.
Looking at Lee was given his name as a tribute by Michael Levinson to his dad, Lee Levinson. Brother Andy and family friend, Don Nelson also co-own the horse.
J Boys Echo is named for owner Dennis Albaugh’s son-in-law, Jason Loutsch – or “J Boy” – and the colt’s dam, Letgomyecho.
Thunder Snow‘s name remains a mystery. The Lexington Herald-Leader never received an answer to their inquiries, but they speculate that owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum must be a big fan of the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore who reported on “thunder snow” during a Boston blizzard.
Always Dreaming was given his “magical” name by owner Anthony Bonomo’s wife. He told the Miami Herald in April. “I don’t know anyone who’s been in the horse business who doesn’t dream of this. So the name that my wife picked out — Always Dreaming — is what you have to do every day, especially in this business.”
Who has your favorite name this year?