Horse Breeds

Rules for Naming a Thoroughbred



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Owning a Thoroughbred racehorse is complicated, from start to finish. There's the purchase price, the training, the cost of upkeeping the high-maintenance animal, hauling it back and forth to races, and planning its breeding schedule. And unless you purchase a horse that's already been named, the first hurdle you must clear is choosing an appropriate name that the Jockey Club will accept.There must be a course offered at the University of Kentucky to explain all the rules. If not, perhaps there should be.

You've probably seen a race on TV. After all, it is the second most-watched sport in the US, right after baseball. Have you ever marveled at some of the horses names? I bet you've thought, "Wow! What a weird name for a horse! I could come up with something better than that!" Maybe not.

Owning and naming a new Thoroughbred baby isn't as simple as say, oh, naming a human baby. First of all, the foal's birthday is already appointed. Yep, all Thoroughbreds turn one year old on the first day of the new year following the day they were born. If the foal was born on April 15, his official birthday is January 1st.

Next, you must register the birth with the Jockey Club (the governing body of Thoroughbred racing), and you have to PROVE the foal is really the product of a full-blooded Thoroughbred sire and dam with DNA testing. (I guess this is helpful if you ever decide to sue the sire for child support.)

Okay, you've jumped all the hurdles. Now you're ready to give the foal a name. You've thought of some great ones... but wait: You must be sure that your name of choice fits the following criteria, set forth by the Jockey Club:

No well-known initials (like P.O., C.O.D., F.D.R.)

No name over 18 characters long, including spaces

No names ending in "filly," "colt," "stud," "mare," "stallion," or any similar horse terms

No names consisting entirely of numbers (numbers above thirty may be used if they are spelled out)

No names ending with a numerical designation such as "2nd" or "3rd," whether or not it's spelled out (no George Bush II or Bill Clinton 3rd)

No names of living persons unless written permission to use their name is on file with The Jockey Club

No foreign words without permission from the Jockey Club and an attached translation

No names of dead people without special permission from the Jockey Club

No names of race tracks or graded stakes races

No names clearly having commercial significance, such as trade names (no Coca-Cola)

No names of movies, books, etc.

No names that are suggestive or have a vulgar or obscene meaning; names considered in poor taste; or names that may be offensive to religious, political or ethnic groups (no S.O.B. Wait, that choice was eliminated in the first rule)

No names from the restricted list (Hall of Fame members, Eclipse Awards winners, Kentucky Derby winners, and lots more = no Secretariat. Darn!)

You have a year to come up with a name. Sounds easy enough, right? Try it. And I almost forgot to mention: You don't have to come up with just one name that satisfies all the rules, which would be difficult enough. You have to think up SIX names! Six!

I think if someone gave me an unnamed Thoroughbred foal, even if it was the product of champions, I'd just trade it for a good pig. At least I wouldn't drive myself crazy trying to name the darn thing. Here, Porky, Porky!

More about this author: Holle Abee

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