Labeling A Winner; All In A Name

 Recently I glanced at a horse classified section. There was an ad promoting a company that exists to help name horses. I thought to myself, "man, I really enjoy brainstorming and coming up with clever ideas and names. I want to get paid for doing something fun like that." So, the gears started turning in my head.

Some people look to name their horse by using names in the first or second generation of the horse's pedigree or by combining the names of the sire and dam. Yet others come up with clever themes and related names. Sometimes a meaningful name of a family member is used.

Some of the names that have come to pass, the great and outright strange. Some names have a historical or geographic significance, which are fun to research and discover.

Great examples of this are The Green Monkey, Giant's Causeway, Sir Shackelton, and Pollard's Vision. The Green Monkey is a golf course in South America; Giant's Causeway being pillars in Ireland; Sir Shackelton lead the arctic exploration; and Pollard's Vision refers to Seabiscuit's jockey and his vision impairment.

I was challenged to search out the meaning behind these names by an editor and the history behind them was very fun to discover.

My co-worker Marta really likes the name Belly Rub, because he is by Buddah.

For us newbies, there are rules that have to be abided by in these naming conventions. Racehorses must be registered, and the Jockey Club regulates their names. There are rotations (meaning names in use can eventually be reused), copy right issues, and many circumstances that exist.

A good example of a name that probably would not pass in America is Irish-bred Cute Ass. It passed in Europe, but the U.S. Jockey Club probably would not permit it. However, sometimes names get by in America because of clever innuendoes, clever spellings, or pronunciation.

To learn more about registering and naming in America, visit: and for naming guidelines, read: Naming with the Jockey Club

Or maybe try visiting 

Some hypothetical names I thought were fun:
Jedi Code - Risen Starlet = Death Star
Z Humor - Tickeled = Something Wonderful
Court Vision - Thumbelina = Short Vision
Kodiak Kowboy - Cosmogirl by Cosmonaut = Space Kowboy

One co-worker CN suggested : Wandering Prowler - Feisty = Andrew the Cat
and another co-worker ER suggested: Brass Hat - Painted Lady = Pain in the Brass

This must come full circle now. There are so many creative and fun names out there. What are some of your favorite names that currently exist?
What are some fun names you might want to create or see?
(Don't make it too vulgar or I can't publish the idea)
Any good stories behind a horse that you named?

Feel free to share!


Leave a Comment:


Some favorite names.....

Fly So Free

Sunday Silence

Serena's Song


14 Apr 2008 7:01 PM
jon h

back in the early 90's there was a horse that ran at canterbury park called....HAULIN OATS...i found it pretty funny due to the double meaning...have no clue what the pedigree was

14 Apr 2008 7:37 PM

My two favorites would have to be a few horses I saw at Tampa Bay Downs, made even better by how Richard Grunder makes the call. I thought they where very, very silly names hehe.

They are Supah Soup and Oh No It's Tokyo Joe!

14 Apr 2008 7:44 PM
Kinks Cluster Crunchberry, Sovereign King of the Apes

Lion Heart X Xtra Heat: Xtra Heart

EZ Warrior x Doesn't Lie: EZ Does It

Jockey Ridge X Nightmare's Dream: Jockey's Nightmare

14 Apr 2008 7:47 PM

At the racing farm that I worked at, we had one young colt (Petionville x Lilgirlshines) that was simply a puppy-dog.  He loved people - myself and my co-worker in particular!  So we spoiled him with love and affection, nicknamed him "Bob" after his owner and later, I groomed him at the racetrack.  During his two-year old year, his owner was trying to come up with a name that had "Bob" in it - and his latest idea was "ShishkaBob".  I told him NO flat out (because it sounded like he was going to eat him!), and said he should call him "Bee O Bee Bob", because that's what we called down the barn aisle when he was a baby!  He'd throw his head out over his stall door, whinny at us, and we'd say "Oh look, it's B-O-B Bob!"  So with a little tweaking to make the race name unique, Bee O Bee Bob was christened.  To this day, he whinnies when he sees me at the track - even after a whole school year goes by without seeing him!

14 Apr 2008 7:50 PM
marlene burry

I have a few favorite names, but there are many creative ones, e.g. Mike Pegram is very creative.

Names I liked: Smarty Jones, Funny Cide, El Gato Malo, Coronado's Quest, Love on the Rail, Real Quiet, and on and on

14 Apr 2008 8:13 PM
Don G. Asmus

Dear Adam,

I am the owner of Thoroughbred Naming Specialists, the company to which you refer in this post, and I would like to invite you to visit our website. (Tacking on a "dot com" will do the trick.)

I am reasonably sure that if you review the series of "Special Reports" on our site, you will find some ammunition for future posts which would be of interest to those who are new to the "name game" that every Thoroughbred owner is required to play with The Jockey Club.

One of these days, we plan to publish a Special Report which will show how the pros name Thoroughbred racehorses. I mention that only because you appear to believe that "brainstorming" plays a much larger role in the naming process than is actually the case.

In any event, I have enjoyed reading all of your posts thus far, and will look for many more from you in the future.

Best regards,

Don G. Asmus  

14 Apr 2008 9:48 PM

I love how some of the best turf horses of recent have had strong names - Einstein, Shakespeare and George Washington.

One of my favorite little claimers running in Tampa is Poundcake. Whereas Seatriscuit always got a laugh out of me.

14 Apr 2008 11:42 PM

Haha, like the Death Star one, and Pain In The Brass - very creative.  My own mare's name usually gets a couple of second glances - Scantily Clad (not sure how that came about, Mula Gula x Meeting Place by Cox's Ridge).  We have a a gelding here at the college named Chicken Tango (Castle Gandolfo x Solar Song by Fly So Free).  He endures endless teasing about that haha.

15 Apr 2008 2:10 AM

We have a broodmare named Hot Pants. She is by Dixieland Heat out of Panttoble.  Her first foal was small so she was named Short Shorts. The second is by Tomahawk. I wanted to name him Loin Cloth, but our partner vetoed that one and he became Long Pants.

15 Apr 2008 7:30 AM

Oh my gosh, I have laughed very hard at your all's responses. There are so many fun names and names demanding respect in existence.

These stories on how some of you have gone about naming your horses is priceless. It is just neat to have so much in a name.

I really like Turf Horses, I was at Keeneland for sure to watch the Maker's Mark Mile...amazing.

15 Apr 2008 8:37 AM

My favorite name will forever be Wait for the Will...a son of Seeking the Gold out of the mare You'd Be Surprised.

I also always liked Blushing Groom (Red God x Runaway Bride).

15 Apr 2008 8:38 AM


To add to your list of Hot Pants, Short Shorts and Long Pants, I have a mare named Short Pants!

A few years back a man gave me a mare under a false premise. I bred her and she produced a filly and I was trying to come up with a name. My husband and I were sitting in a beach bar and on the wall was the saying "dead men tell no tales." The filly was by Proud and True out of an Honest Moment mare, and since the man had told me a tale we named the filly Tell No Tales. She ended up being a nice allowance winner.

15 Apr 2008 10:02 AM

This recent runner had a name that really caught on with me, it just seems to roll off your tongue - Pnut Butter On It (not sure of the spelling though).  Anyone know where he or she is now and the story behind the name?

15 Apr 2008 10:27 AM
jon h

I don't know if anyone remember's this one....A owner wanted to name one of his horses  SALLY HEMINGS  a contoversial slave mistress of Thomas Jefferson...the name was not allowed by the jockey club...the owner i believe went all the way to the sumpreme court to try to get the name...but was denied...decendents of SALLY HEMMINGS were in outrage over this...the sire was COLONIAL AFFAIR the dam's name was( i believe )  JEFFERSON"S SECRET..

15 Apr 2008 10:27 AM

Oh, I'll never forget the first time I heard of Panty Raid, and how that made me raise an eyebrow. As far as names go, some of my favorites have been Funny Cide, Afleet Alex, Spectacular Bid, Real Quiet...

15 Apr 2008 11:25 AM

My husband and I had a racing stable called Longshot Racing Stable.We named one horse we raised Larry the Longshot.Larry is retired this year at the age of 11 with over one hundred thousand in earnings.My inlaws own him and have built him a beautiful barn for his retirement.He has been a fan favourite at tracks all over Alberta,Canada and yes he lived up to his name on many occasions!

15 Apr 2008 11:28 AM

Peanut Butter Onit

Born April 5, 1986

TOTAL:  67-20-13-11  $694,096

I had not heard of the Sally Hemings case. I asked a few co-workers about the case and it seems to have been quite a famous case.

These stories are amazing, thank you so very much! Keep them coming!

15 Apr 2008 12:06 PM

Although not my favorite name, I remember shouting out when driving through Lexington to Danville for college for the first time & realizing Exit Five B (Best Turn - Miss Betty), a Calumet-bred, was named for the New Circle/Versailles exit to get to Calumet Farm, Keeneland etc. After a few years in Kentucky, I realized a lot of the names (Leestown, Hickman Creek) had geographical significance.

My favorite name is Coaltown (obviously obsessed with the Calumet runners). I think of him every time I hear Billy Edd Wheeler's song Coal Tattoo; "Travelin' down that coaltown road, Listen to those rubber tires whine; Goodbye to Buckeye and White Sycamore,

I'm leavin' you behind"

15 Apr 2008 1:03 PM
jon h

My dad always wanted to name a horse  THE BROWN HORSE  just so he hear " and here comes THE BROWN HORSE coming around the turn"  

15 Apr 2008 2:00 PM

I've always loved the creativity behind TB names... although some have been questionable (I'm with you on Panty Raid...) There was also Isitingood several years back.

I have a young stallion (not a TB) who's father is Afterburn and mother is Dolce ('sweet' in Italian). I named him Creme Brulee after my very favorite dessert, that is only created after its burned!! I am so proud of that  name and feel very clever for having come up with it all by myself!!

15 Apr 2008 2:18 PM

I adopted a thoroughbred gelding by Stormin Fever out of Muddler. His name is Storminoutasight.

I'm looking forward to naming a horse Church Business so I can tell the church secretary, I'll be out on Church Business all afternoon."

15 Apr 2008 3:11 PM

Some favorite names: Twilight Tear; Dark Secret (Flying Ebony--Silencia); War Plummage (On Watch--War Feathers, by Man o' War); Whirlaway (out of Dustwhirl, by Sweep); Twenty Grand (out of Bonus by All Gold).

Spectacular Bid's 2nd dam, Stop On Red, was a twin of Go On Green (To Market--Danger Ahead)

Coaltown and  Wistful were half-siblings out of Easy Lass; 2nd dam, Slow and Easy; 3rd dam, Shyness.

Then there was the "Barbarous Battalion," Barbarity's 5 champion daughters: Belmont Stakes winner Ruthless (champion in 1864), Relentless (1865), Remorseless (1867), Regardless (1868), and Merciless (1873).

Mayo On the Side was a memorable name.

Standardbred's have many interesting names. One that comes to mind was the stakes filly--Ahhh.

15 Apr 2008 4:40 PM

One of my favorite 5yo [retired now] was a Devil His Due x Oh She Flew, and I was convinced the end result needed to rhyme. Alas, it was not to be.

15 Apr 2008 4:44 PM
Social Climber

The late Alfred Vanderbilt of Sagamore Farm had a deft hand with a Thoroughbred name...I believe his very first horse was the great Discovery, son of Display...Native Dancer (Polynesian x Geisha) and Social Climber (Your Host x Wisteria) just to name a few...

15 Apr 2008 5:05 PM
Keith M


Anybody know what she was named after?

15 Apr 2008 5:38 PM

My partners and I were lucky enough to get a beautiful Freud filly that we could name Superego.  When she broke her maiden last September at Laurel Park, Dave Rodman's call was priceless, "and Superego's won it.  Yes, she knows she has."  We just named our Forest Camp x Run for Joy two year-old "One Happy Camper."  That took about three months of brainstorming!

15 Apr 2008 8:06 PM

I still think Heart's Cry (Sunday Silence - Heart's Dance) is the most beautiful name for a horse ever.

The ones that make me laugh at the moment is Silver Knockers.

If I had my choice I would take Smarty Jones and Grace Anatomy and the foal Grace Jones.

15 Apr 2008 8:27 PM
Tom W

Love the fillies - a few on my favorite oldies are:

Lamp Chop

Dark Mirage

Queen of the Stage (out of Broadway)

Moccasin (out of Rough Shod II)

Ta Wee

Phantom's Flower

15 Apr 2008 8:38 PM
PDX Grande Fan

I am fond of Oregon's 2007 horse of the year:Lethal Grande. Sadly, he was put down after a fatal injury. On a lighter note; Oprah Winney is memorable, Bed O' Roses (Mr. Vanderbuilt, again)and the source of the famous race call, Hoof Hearted. Any one else?

15 Apr 2008 8:39 PM

One of my favorite names is "Your tent or Mine" He is by Forest Camp out of She's Got the Look

15 Apr 2008 11:48 PM

I love the son of Successful Appeal X Oh Jay.  His name is Still Guilty.  Of course, I think that Panty Raid is very clever as well.

I want to name my next show horse "Upsidedown and Backwards" so when I enter the ring to perform the announcer can say "Next to show is Linny riding Upsidedown and Backwards..."

16 Apr 2008 10:58 AM

Chilly Rooster is a good one. Gives me such a visual. And then there was the poor gelding named Scooter Roach. I don't know how Bodacious Tatas got past the Jockey Club. Manistique, November Snow, Ruffian, Miesque are some of my favorites.

16 Apr 2008 10:58 AM

What Fun!  My three favorites for putting a smile on your face. A standardbred  "Jamaicanmecrazy",    "FLAT FLEET FEET" - loved those race calls and the wonderful  "SMILE".

16 Apr 2008 12:23 PM

One of my favorite names is Bonanza Jellybean because it's so random. She (I believe) raced at Churchill often.

I named a horse by Unbridled Time out of Galway Rose (I think) "Galway Time" - Sadly he was euthanized as a two year old.

16 Apr 2008 12:42 PM

Names from this year that have amused me are Poni Colada and Racecar Rhapsody.  I also really like the name Bsharpsonata.  

Historically, I always liked Six Crowns, who is by triple crown winner Secretariat and out of filly triple crown winner Chris Evert.

16 Apr 2008 12:48 PM
Longtime Race Fan

I love TB names, there is so ,much creativity (wellll, a few dumb ones too...)   Years ago some Arabian breeders I knew had a young filly who got caught in wire and cut up her front legs pretty badly. To protect the healing wounds they put a pair of his overalls on her... so she immediately got the nickname "Pantsy." Years later she had a filly by a horse named HAAT SHAAT (Hot Shot) --- what better name for the filly than HAAT PANTS... I still have her, she is 28 this year.  

16 Apr 2008 1:07 PM
Billy D.

A always like Alydar. Some names I thought of have been, Ez Goer, Quiet Sunday, Easy Beasley, Believe it or not, LeaveittoBelieveit, Pyromaniac, Ez on ez off and SundaybloodySunday to name a few.

16 Apr 2008 1:20 PM

I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to name horses for a client.  I personally try and come up with a name that deals with the sire and/or dam without using their names or combination of their names i.e.

GREAT SIEGE (by Rock of Gibralter: inside the Rock are the Great Siege tunnels)

LUCKIEST MAN (by Grand Slam: Lou Gehrig is the all time grand slam leader and name comes from his famous retirement speech)

BALANCE (out of Vertigineaux: means "dizzy heights" in French)

COAST GUARD (self explanatory being being by Stormy Atlantic)

I look forward to the challenge of coming up with good names every year!

16 Apr 2008 2:20 PM

We had a claimer a few years back by the name of Dance Affair (Fred Astaire x Fuzzy Feathers) which I thought was a great name.

Favorites would have to be Sunday Silence, Tiznow, and my all time favorite (thanks to Mr. Durkin's call) Da Hoss.  Can't get more to the point then that!

16 Apr 2008 3:55 PM

I worked on the sports copy desk at a major daily paper in '80s and '90s. The horse DROP YOUR DRAWERS was always popular with the headline writers.

16 Apr 2008 4:02 PM

Years ago at Suffolk I was watching a horse as he was led down the track to the saddling area-he was rather well endowed and I could not imagine how he could trot never mind run. His name----Swingin' Hal

16 Apr 2008 4:20 PM

winning colors-storm cat = paint the cat.xtra heat-smoke glakin = xtra smoky.rags to richs-smarty jones=smartmoneysonme

16 Apr 2008 5:27 PM

My favorites: Man O'War (for my man of war) and Lost in the Fog (the story was that he was in the paddock with others, it was foggy, and the others came to the gate, accept him, who was "lost in the fog").

In addition, I worked for a trainer at Laurel in the early 70's and he had a horse named "Pheasant Plucker" and his race calls were concise.  And, I remember the trainer telling me that they wanted to name another  Raisin L, but the Jockey Club said No.  Would probably be a go now.  

16 Apr 2008 6:50 PM

Some of the fun of watching TB racing is the great names. I love all the Alpha's: Alphabetsoup, Alpha Lucky, Alphabet Kisses, He's Souper, Soupy, Alpha Capo. I like the one I saw today: I LOST MY CHOO.And everybody loves Hoof Hearted!!!

16 Apr 2008 6:50 PM

Great article! Some of my Faves are

Distorted Humor...Sinister Minister... the sadly euthenized Lost In The Fog. But the best name has to be Idiot Proof!!!

16 Apr 2008 7:31 PM



Crown of Thorns (Repent x Crowning Touch)

Mr. Prospector out of Gold Digger sire of Forty Niner, Seeking The Gold, Conquistador Cielo (to name a very few)

16 Apr 2008 7:46 PM

My sister thinks that Big Brown and Big Truck are absoloutely hilarious, as is Hoof Hearted and Panty Raid

16 Apr 2008 8:06 PM

Another one I had to mention: Clabber Girl (Alydar) named after Calumet's rival in the baking powder business.

16 Apr 2008 9:48 PM
needler in Virginia

Was there EVER a better name, for ANY horse, than UNBRIDLED??? What a vision rises with THAT name! Never one better and this a huge fan of Secretariat talkin'.

I always liked the name SMELLY....not very classy, but usually pretty appropriate....and a very good friend swears she knows of a TB called Carrot Breath......hmmmmmm.... not too sure about THAT one. Another one that must have made the announcers a bit crazy is Master Baker...gotta be VERY careful calling THAT race!

What fun this is......and which special name will be on the record books after May 3, 2008, I wonder...

16 Apr 2008 10:08 PM

Dust Commander...Mr.Squeaky...the latter being named by my mother after my brother who by the way was tighter than bark on a tree...but our filly(Wheelaway) Allynn 2yo getting broke as we speak named after my wonderful wife...Long Live The King!!!

17 Apr 2008 2:45 AM

Holy Cow! This is great, so many names I had not been familiar with and so many that I have heard or know that deserve a mention!

You all should check out my post on Star Wars horses, I am a big fan of the saga. It has some other good names.

17 Apr 2008 8:20 AM

Two ways to answer this: serious or comical. Comically I've always laughed at Hoof Hearted and Dixie Norma's. There's a Hoof Hearted video on You Tube that's a laugh riot. I also enjoyed Ham Sandwich, Chips & Dip, Frisky Spider, and Squirt Gun. And who can forget Squirtle Squirt(BC Champion sprinter!). Seriously, I've always liked the classic names like Majestic Prince, Spectacular Bid, Dancers Image, Man O' War, Gunboat, Twice a Prince, Risen Star, Unbridled, Spend A Buck, Fly So Free, Beautiful Pleasure, Twilight Agenda, Seeking The Gold, Black Tie Affair, Easy Goer, Flying Continental, Cryptoclearance, and Gate Dancer. Whew! And that's just off the tip of my tongue......

17 Apr 2008 8:27 AM

It is hard not to smile when you read the names of the first four foals out of the mare Dana's Wedding: Ham Sandwich, On Rye, With Mustard, and To Go.

17 Apr 2008 9:26 AM

Hera's Cry by Olymiad King out of Siren's Song (or I think thst was her dam)

17 Apr 2008 9:40 AM

Mr. Samuels of Sam-Son Farms named a filly years ago No Class(he didnt name too many after that) but she turned out to be anything but as she was one of their founding broodmares producing many champions and being the granddam of none other than Dance Smartly

17 Apr 2008 11:55 AM
Dreamer's Mom

Years ago we tried to name one "Play Doctor With Me" by Shawklit Player out of Doctor's Choice.  No go with the Jockey Club, but after appealing and after naming the colt something else, they caved in.  Of course, the mare never had another baby!  We have tons of fun with the Shawklit Player babies-Shawklit and Roses, Shawklit Chip, etc.  Our mare, Sharp Shopper has had Coupon Clipper and Shoppen For Shoes.  Sign me up for naming babies!  I know their names the minute the vet says the mare is in foal!

17 Apr 2008 2:40 PM

I used to work on a TB farm in Versailles and looked forward to naming the babies.  Some I didn't get to use would have to be based on the markings: PULL UP MY SOCK, LOST MY SOCK, and FOUR TO THE FLOOR.

17 Apr 2008 4:15 PM

I worked on a farm in NY once and we had a mare named Sniffy, and another named Private Stash, i sorta thought that they had a theme going....  But the one i was really thinking about was Still Guilty, that someone mentioned earlier, cause i worked with him when he was a baby.

17 Apr 2008 8:51 PM

Some of the more memorable names I've come across have been:



Fertile Myrtle

I thought that a cross between Viagraman and Fertile Myrtle could be amusing.

18 Apr 2008 12:33 PM
Selkirk Pix

While the SF Bay Area has many horses with great names, two of my favorite funny names ran in the same race recently - Dr. Pooh and Mr. Stanky.  I could not make this up....

21 Apr 2008 8:55 PM
Garrett Redmond

First time I have seen this item.  So hope my comments are not too late.

I applied for the name, SALLY HEMINGS.  It was not done as an insult (as alleged by Alan Marzelli of The Jockey Club) but as a compliment to a woman whom few, if any, know about.

Marzelli was not defending the memory of Sally Hemings.  He was concerned about the reputation of Thomas Jefferson  Even while President, Jefferson was guilty of breaking the law against miscegination, should have been impeached and removed from office.

I sued for infringement of my right to free speech - as guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

I did not take the case to the Supreme Court, only because I could not sensibly spend more than I'd already spent - over $75,000.

The whole process took way too long to wind through the Courts - over three years.  So, to give the mare a chance to race I accepted the name AWAITING JUSTICE. Considering the delayed process and bearing in mind a legal maxim that 'Justice delayed is JUSTICE DENIED' that would have been a better name.

Epilogue.  Sally is now steeplechasing and looks very promising.  Her halter proudly shows in bold letters --


     aka Awaiting Justice

When she runs we proudly shout

"Come on Sally".  Even the dictators at The Jockey Club cannot supress that right to free speech!

23 Apr 2008 3:58 PM
Moonshine's Master

some of my foals names (registered and not) have been Leaping-Leah, Talking-Tobias,Moonshine's Master (Moonshine is my dog :) ) Crooked Nose Rose, Charleston Chew, Marocco Madness,Captivating Casper, and Sizzling Storm.

I love looking for unique names for my pets. It is alot of fun, and when I go places I know my horses and dogs won't be confused when names are called. Once saw a pony I showed against named Taco. That was cute.

23 Jun 2008 1:52 PM

I rememeber watching some racing and there was a horse named Flying Pickle.  Searched him up on a pedigree site and his mom is named It's a Gherkin, LOL.  Never could believe that

Then there is the horse that is racing (not sure if he still is now or not) that my husband pointed out that was named Gandalf the Grey, and he was a grey horse.  

It's amazing what they will name some of these horses haha

25 Jul 2008 3:39 PM

My TB's name is Hollywood Harlot, by Hollywood Reporter out of Make it Brief.

She is know retired from the track and runs barrels for me and for the longest time the announcers woundn't announce her name at the family club I ran at!!

25 Jul 2008 10:32 PM
Tony Rogillio

I own Heir To Drawers,the only remaining direct son of Drop Your Drawers. I call him Heir. I have never found a photo of Drop your Drawers to compare them. The name Drop Your drawers was acquired after many attempts to name this new colt (Heir), that was rejected by the Jockey Club, the owner at that time was George Papadaux,his secretary pulled a desk drawer out too far and it hit the floor, George ask what had just happened, She replied, I dropped my drawer, he then asked her to submit that name for the new colt, the rest is history. Heir has never been raced due to a minor hoof injury when he was a colt but, he sure makes pretty babies.

02 Apr 2009 3:52 PM

Tony R: THAT is a great story, thanks for sharing that. And to everyone else's, classic stories.

02 Apr 2009 4:38 PM

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