Things have gotten pretty heated on this blog over the past couple months with all the Horse of the Year debate. How about we take a step back and talk about something fun before we tackle the long Triple Crown season?
One of the coolest parts of Thoroughbred racing is the names that owners come up with for their horses, and I am always intrigued with the names of past Kentucky Derby winners. Since the Derby began in 1875, the majority of the winners have had very cool names, especially since 1970. Some of the best that come to mind are Sir Barton, Exterminator, Gallant Fox, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Citation, Dark Star, Swaps, Venetian Way, Northern Dancer, Secretariat, Foolish Pleasure, Seattle Slew, Spectacular Bid, Gato Del Sol, Spend a Buck, Alysheba, Sunday Silence, Silver Charm, Charismatic, and Smarty Jones just to name a few. Don't they all have the sound of horses who should win the Derby?
There have also been some not so great names, in my opinion. Some that come to mind are Alan-a-Dale, Worth, George Smith, Zev, Lawrin, Hoop Jr., Middleground, Determine, Forward Pass, and yes, Mine That Bird. None of them sound like horses that should have won our most prestigious race.
As we get further along the Derby trail and a horse wins a major prep, I always ask myself: Does that horse have the sound of a Derby winner? For example, last year, I just knew a horse named The Pamplemousse couldn't win the Derby. No way the racing Gods would let that happen. Of course, as I said above, I never imagined a horse named Mine That Bird could win either. So, as you see, this is an inexact science. And no all you negative types, I do not let names effect my handicapping. It's just fun to think about.
With this in mind, lets try to come up with the coolest name of all the Derby contenders so far. I know it's still early and there will be many other names not listed below that come to the forefront, but let's see which of the early contenders you guys/gals like the best right now. Personally, I like the names Lookin at Lucky, Maximus Ruler, Interactif, and Jackson Bend a lot. I'm a little biased with Jackson Bend since that's my son's name (even though we spell it Jaxson).
How about Eskendereya and Ron the Greek? Can you picture those names as Derby winners? Not me.