If you want to skip to fun TB names, it's okay.
The naming of things
When I bought Harvey, his name was "Sody" -- which was bad enough, I thought, until I learned his Jockey Club racing name: Sotally Tober. I renamed him Harvey in honor of the Jimmy Stewart movie (it was on TV the night the owners decided to sell him to me). I chose the name Harvard for his show name, which in retrospect is a little pretentious. I like names that are simple: Theatrical, Wishful, Mystify, Sinatra, etc.
Later, when we started competing at recognized shows, Harv showed that he could hold his own -- at least at the lower levels -- with the big-moving warmbloods. I joked about changing his name to Why Pay More?
Racehorse owners seem to care about names, too, and they like to get creative. Sometimes a bit too creative--like the British horse named Hoof Hearted (watch the video or say it fast a few times), or the 1983 American Thoroughbred named Wrecked Em. A recent lawsuit that made the news concerned poor taste in naming a thoroughbred. The Jockey Club oversees and regulates the naming of horses. It's a hard thing to follow all the rules and there is even a company, Thoroughbred Naming Specialists, that will do it for you. The list of rules is long, but a few of their verbotens are...
- Names consisting of more than 18 letters
- Initials such as C.O.D., F.O.B., etc.
- Names of persons unless written permission to use their name
- Names of "famous" people no longer living (w/o approval from JC)
- Names of "notorious" people.
- Names clearly having commercial significance, such as trade names.
- Copyrighted material
- Names that are suggestive or have a vulgar/obscene meaning, or are offensive.
Fun Thoroughbred names
You can browse or search active names at the JC Online Names Book. Here are a few names, anecdotes about racehorse names that I culled from the resources below...
- A Simpsons episode featured Bart and his adventures with a race horse named Duncan. While they were at the track you could hear the announcer calling a race, and one of the horses was named Chockfullodrugs.
- The shortest racehorse name in history is 'I' who raced in Argentina.
- At an Australian racetrack, three horses broke away from the pack at the half-way mark. The horses were Nobody, Nearest and Nothing. The announcer called, "Nobody is Nearest to Nothing," and the crowd erupted in laughter.
- Names are often derived from the parents.
- Yes It's True is by Is It True
- East of Reality by Proper Reality out of Far East
- The filly Shopaholic is out of A Girl Needs Cash
- Greenie is by Naturalism out of Ozone Friendly
- Braless is by Showoff II out of Snuggles
- Lip Gloss is out of Pucker Lips
- Youcan'tteachheart by Lionheart out of Backwoods Teacher
- Emotional Ending by End Sweep out of Gina's Temper
- Watamichoppedliver by Chopper Charlie out of Libber and Onions
- Blondeinamotel was sired by Bates Motel
- Reignforest by Forestry, out of Golden Princess
- No Slow Dancing by Slow Fuse out of Dancing Kate
- Nosupeforyou by Super Fortunate
- One name is a reference to the 18 character limit on a racing name: Eighteencharacters.
- A lot of them are pretty sexist:
- Oliver Klozov
- Sexy Walk
- Short Skirt Flirt
- Yes No Yes
- Date More Minors
- No Fat Chicks
- Bodacious Ta Ta's
- She can't say no
- She's Easy
- Drinking-related names abound, but here are a few:
- Anita Cocktail
- Plastered, out of a mare called Tipples
- Drink me pretty
- and of course Sotally Tober.
- As a librarian, I love these:
- Sexy Librarian.
- Library Flirt
- Studious by Muttering out of Fast Study
- She's Well Red by an Illiterate son out of Red Journey
- In the Library out of United Scholar
- Search Engine
- Study Hard out of Learning Curve
- Sensible Shoes
- Some made it through the checks and balances for obscenity:
- Golden Showers
- Cunning Stunt
- Pleasure Me
- Girls On Top
- Ménage Á Trois
- Strip Teaser
- Rhythm Method
- Jail Bait
- Tit'n Your Girdle
- Panty Raid
- Some are basically jokes, at the expense of the horse:
- No Speed No Feed out of No Pay No Hay
- Lags Behind
- Stake or Steak
- Lame Jane
- Not a Role Model
- Badly Bred
- Check My Pulse out of Heart's Rythm
- Chicken Lips
- High Eena by High Brite out of Ameena
- Really Bad News
- Government Mule
- Spineless Jellyfish
- Others are just plain fun:
- Forty dollar bra
- Stud Finder
- Hairy Potter
- Hello Newman
- Credit Limit by Spendabuck
- Chicks dig me
- Mean Butterbean
- Jello is Jiggling
- No Stinking Badges
- No Bettor Love
- Some seem to have a story behind them...
- Dont Choke the Cat
- Reduced Sentence
- Acid Reflux
- Reptilian Smarts
- Semi True Story
- Full of Skittles
- Senior Discount
- Don't Buddy Me
- Cerebral Concrete
- Uhmm Alot
- But Your Honor
Articles on racehorse names
Weird racehorse names
The Science of Naming a Racehorse (NPR audio file)
Why are racehorse names traditionally so weird?
Suggestive racehorse names are hilarious
That's Horseshit: Why you can't give your Thoroughbred an obscene name.
ScrollEquus names list (excellent!)
Nags and wags of naming rites
Why do racehorses have such unusual names?
Thoroughbred Naming Specialists Special Reports