Kentucky Oaks Name Game: 2014 Edition

It's time for my annual Kentucky Oaks name blog! I cover the Kentucky Oaks for the magazine, so for the last five years, I have researched the meanings behind the names of several of Oaks-bound fillies. Read some of my past entries here, here, and here.

Whenever I make a "hunch bet," it's usually about 80-90% based on the horse's name.  How much do name meanings weigh on your handicapping?

These fillies are in order according to how many points they have earned along the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. Who is your favorite so far? Does the name have anything to do with it?

Untapable (160 points)

Fair Grounds Oaks winner Untapable; Photo by Hodges Photography

David Fiske, racing manager for owner Winchell Thoroughbreds, explained that her name mostly derives from her superstar sire, Tapit. "We throw prefixes and suffixes around and mix them up and see what works," he said.

Sugar Shock (120 points)

Sugar Shock winning the Fantasy Stakes; Photo by Coady Photography

"It's just a play on words," said trainer Doug Anderson of the filly, who is by Candy Ride. "As a kid, you get 'sugar shock' if you eat too much candy."

Fashion Plate (110 points)

Fashion Plate winning the Santa Anita Oaks; Photo by Benoit

According to trainer Simon Callaghan, this filly was named by owner Arnold Zetcher's wife, Ellen. Undoubtedly, part of the name derives from her sire, Old Fashioned, but the moniker is also fitting due to the fact Arnold Zetcher is a longtime executive in the women's apparel industry.

The Los Angeles-based horseman is former chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Talbots, manufacturer and retailer of upscale professional women's wear.

My Miss Sophia (100 points)

My Miss Sophia winning the Gazelle; Photo by Chelsea Durand

This filly is named after owners Bill and Terry Mathis' 11-year-old daughter.

Rosalind (78 points)

Rosalind; Photo by Anne M. Eberhardt

She is named after one of Shakespeare's most recognized heroines from the play "As You Like It."

"She is by Broken Vow, and her dam is Critics Acclaim by Theatrical, so I went to Shakespeare and found one of the feistiest female characters I could recall," explained Ray Struder, who races the filly in the name of his Landaluce Educe Stables.

Got Lucky (64 points)

Got Lucky (right); Photo by Chad B. Harmon

"We named her after the grandmother, and also because we got lucky when we finally got her since it took us three times to get her dam in foal, so it's a double entendre," said Phil Steinberg, who co-owns and co-bred the filly in partnership with John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings.

Steinberg explained that Got Lucky's dam, Malka (by Deputy Minister), was bred to A.P. Indy during his final season at stud when his fertility was waning. Got Lucky's maternal grandmother's name is Get Lucky.
Surprisingly, Steinberg and Sikura initially had trouble getting Got Lucky's name approved by The Jockey Club.

"We had to write a letter to The Jockey Club because they thought it was too much of a (sexual) innuendo," said Steinberg with a laugh. "But we had to explain we didn't mean that...we told them what we meant and they gave us the name."

Thank You Marylou (20 points)

Thank You Marylou; Photo by Coady Photography

Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey named her after prominent horsewoman and socialite Marylou Whitney. The Ramseys became acquainted with Whitney after their Roses in May won the 2004 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. The Ramseys, Whitney, and her husband John Hendrickson, maintained a relationship over the next few years.

When Sarah Ramsey suffered a stroke a year after Whitney in 2007, Ramsey turned to Hendrickson for advice. Hendrickson in turn flew Whitney's doctor from California to examine Sarah.

Ramsey credits Whitney, Hendrickson, and the doctor with possibly saving Sarah's life. The story culminates with Marylou Whitney later visiting Sarah while she was recovering at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital in Lexington.

Ramsey felt it was only fitting to name one of his best fillies after Whitney for her kindness. Appropriately, Thank You Marylou is by Birdstone, who was campaigned by Whitney and is best known for spoiling Smarty Jones' 2004 Triple Crown bid with his victory in that year's Belmont Stakes (gr. I).


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