TNB Night Owl – Horse Naming

Mangalarga Marchador stallion owned by Quitumba Ranch. Photo by Fábio Vidigal.

Take a look at any list of horses in a thoroughbred race and you’re going to see some interesting names. It’s not surprising; no two racehorses are able to share a name, and when one considers the dozens of racetracks throughout the country, the fact that tracks average eight to ten races a day and also that a typical well-kept horse will only run one race per month… that’s a lot of horses. The seasons will influence when horses run in various locations, but there are still plenty of races to go around.

There has to be some organization that keeps track of all the different names, and that group is the Jockey Club. They have a variety of rules about names, all of which are exclusionary. No names that were used by winners of previous major races, for example. No names that are suggestive, vulgar or obscene. No naming them after a living person (unless that person agrees to it in writing!) No names more than 18 letters long. No names clearly having commercial, artistic or creative significance (Sorry, “Budweiser Beer”). The options are remarkably open, even if the club reserves the right to reject suggestions and asks for explanations for names that sound “made up”, like Ggmatfoeeo (“I picked those tiles out of a Scrabble bag” is unlikely to be accepted.)

That said, people aren’t always creative. That’s where name re-use comes into play.

Basically, there’s a five year window. Five years after a non-star thoroughbred dies (or five years after they retire, if they’re at least ten years old) the name of the horse goes back into the pool, and breeders can grab a name that’s already been verified instead of going through the hassle of thinking up and submitting a new one.

Where can they go to find these names? Well, the Recently Released Names database, of course!

A prospective new name can be checked against a search of names currently in use, but the recent releases is more fun to scroll through. It’s alphabetized, and every one of those horses has likely been posted at least once, often dozens of times.

If you’re bored, it’s a fun site to flip through, if only to discover you missed your chance to bet on Vampira, Radar of Love, Nacho Saint, and Carrot Thief… at least until someone else grabs their names.

Question of the night: What is your favorite style of gambling, whether for money or simply fun?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.