Is it easier to name a child than a horse?
Is it easier to name a child than a horse? Victor Espinoza aboard American Pharoah celebrates winning the 141st Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs (Jamie Rhodes, USA TODAY Sports / AP photo)
Is it easier to name a child than a horse?
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Coming up with a clever name for a racehorse can be a challenge.

While parents simply put their choice of names for their child on a birth certificate and are done, registering a thoroughbred foal is not so easy.

The owners can submit up to six choices in order of preference. The choices are sent to The Jockey Club in the registration process. Similar to choosing an online password, the name can't exceed 18 characters. It must be available. And it must comply with a lengthy list of guidelines.

And that's before it receives the blessing of The Jockey Club. Last year, it approved an estimated 26,000 of 36,500 names submitted.

The odds seem to be in an owner's favor. But that doesn't make it easy.

"The reason we have such quality control is to make things very clear to the layman, to the stakeholder, to a trainer, to a bettor," The Jockey Club manager of registration services Andrew Chesser said. "You want to avoid confusion. Especially when you're talking about two particular horses that can be racing at the same time and breeding at the same time."

Chesser couldn't explain the 18-character limit other than it being the worldwide standard and added, "18 has just always seemed to work."

Some horses' names feature a combination of its sire (father) and dam (mother) or the damsire (mom's father). Others such as 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner-up Bodemeister are more creative: That colt was named after Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's son, Bode.

"You try to come up with a name you just might like," said Dallas Stewart, who trains Tale of Verve. "It's OK to be a little crazy with them. After all, it's your horse."

Owners can submit a name for free until Feb. 1 of the second year after the horse is born. After that, there's a $100 charge. Names can also be reserved.

The Jockey Club's list of exclusions is long and detailed. Triple Crown winners or any series race are permanently protected from duplication. Triple Crown winners have won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in the same year.

That's just fine by Secretariat owner Penny Chenery. She proudly said of the legendary 1973 Triple Crown champion, "There's only one Secretariat."

Here is a look at the backstories of the names of several entrants in the 140th Preakness. It took place on May 16.

AMERICAN PHAROAH: You might notice that his surname is a misspelling of the Egyptian ruler Pharaoh. It was a role made famous onscreen by Yul Brynner in "The Ten Commandments." Owner Ahmed Zayat, a native of Egypt who wanted a horse reflective of his culture, originally blamed The Jockey Club for the typo. The name was misspelled when it was submitted by a woman who won an online contest run by the family. The Zayats didn't catch it. No worries, since the horse has made a name for himself with his Derby victory and Preakness victories. He will try for the Triple Crown title June 6 at Belmont.

DANZIG MOON: Norman Casse helps his father, Mark, in training the horse. He laughs as he explains this name as "pretty straightforward." His first name derives from his damsire, Danzig, his last name from sire Malibu Moon. Whether heavy metal band Danzig inspired the name is unclear. But its use has generated a social media cult following and Boston radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub recently played a game asking, "Is it a race horse or a bad local band?"

BODHISATTVA: The Buddhist term means someone who is enlightened and delays reaching Nirvana in order to save others. It'll be interesting to see if the California-bred colt is that selfless with his fellow horses if he's leading in the stretch. Extra credit for pronouncing the name correctly on the first try: (boh-dee-SAHT'-vah).

TALE OF VERVE: Another easy one. Owner Charles Fipke likes to pass horses' names down the line. This one derives from sire Tale of Ekati and dam Verve, whose damsire is 1990 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Unbridled.

MR. Z: Zayat's children submitted the name in honor of their father, who just sold the horse to Calumet Farm. Another son of Malibu Moon and trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, the chestnut colt looks to rebound from his 13th-place Derby finish. But he was a longshot in the Preakness where he finished fifth.

Critical thinking challenge: Why might someone want to use the name of a previous Triple Crown winner?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/it-easier-name-child-horse/

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COMMENTS (125)
  • Eriku2
    5/19/2015 - 10:31 p.m.

    This article is about horses. People are starting to say that it is harder to name a horse than to name a child. The owners have to enter in 6 names and the name cant be over 18 charachters. I think this is very interesting.

  • keighanat-Goo
    5/20/2015 - 10:49 a.m.

    Many people would probably want to use the name of the Triple Crown winner. The text states that, "Coming up with a clever name for a racehorse can be a challenge.
    While parents simply put their choice of names for their child on a birth certificate and are done, registering a thoroughbred foal is not so easy." If you have a cool name, many others will most likely want to use it also. The text also states that, "The owners can submit up to six choices in order of preference. The choices are sent to The Jockey Club in the registration process. Similar to choosing an online password, the name can't exceed 18 characters. It must be available. And it must comply with a lengthy list of guidelines."

  • dawsonc-Goo
    5/20/2015 - 10:51 a.m.

    Someone want to use the name of a previous Triple Crown winner because it could bring them good luck. The text states in naming a horse you have a 18-character limit. The text also states that some horses' names feature a combination of its sire (father) and dam (mother) or the dam-sire (mom's father). In conclusion, It would be harder to name a horse then to name a kid.

  • 10Kaleb-May
    5/20/2015 - 10:54 a.m.

    yes cause if you name a horse say john that could be your sons name so I would name a horse like chocolate cause it would be brown or white chocolate cause it would be white

  • 08Avery-May
    5/20/2015 - 10:57 a.m.

    WOW! I never ever thought that there would be so many rules for naming a horse. But I guess there are. I mean I understand why it is like choosing a new password, 18 characters long, and it cant be taken but the whole rule about the money is just bizarre in my eyes, why only $100.00 and why the time that it is? But great articles. I would have liked to see some explanation on why those rules. but other than that AGAIN great article.

  • NathanWOrange
    5/20/2015 - 11:56 a.m.

    I think that the requirements for naming a horse are insane because you would think that you would just have to write it down and mail it just like A.K.C. registration. But i guess not!

  • TatianaR-4
    5/20/2015 - 07:43 p.m.

    Someone wants to use the name of previous triple crown winner because because it can bring them good luck. The text states in naming a horse is that you can only have an eighteen character limit. The text also states that some horse's names feature a combination of both their mother and father. In conclusion i think it would be harder to name a horse than a kid.

  • jakeg-Gon
    5/21/2015 - 11:11 a.m.

    Naming horses shouldn't be hard, its almost like naming a dog. Just name it Ham if the horse was white. If it was a black horse I would name it Mcbeans. If it was any other horse, I would name the horse Chocolate Chip. But seriously if i had a horse i would name it by what it reminds of. That simple

  • PreciousG-Kut
    5/21/2015 - 12:59 p.m.

    i think you should name the hoarse and the child what ever you think is a good name for them i like this story i think that was a very good ending

  • kayden7-Bla
    5/21/2015 - 01:16 p.m.

    I think that it is cool that it is harder to name a horse then a person.

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