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What's In A Name?

Rachel Alexandra's first foal
By Jody Lawrence 
Once again it’s coming upon that time of year that brings just about as much excitement as the holidays… foaling season is right around the corner!! After the first of the year, I will start jumping on the farm websites and social networks, to see who foaled during the night. I often wonder… will this one be a Triple Crown winner or Breeders' Cup champion? Will he or she make it to Dubai? What about Horse of the Year and then retire to produce their own progeny of stakes winning babies? Wait...Wait...slow down! First our new little champion needs… a name.

In 2011, the Jockey Club Registry issued just under 25,000 new thoroughbred names. This is a daunting task in itself, as their rules for naming, (as any owner will attest too) is stringent with very good reason. Currently there are 450,000 names that are either already in use or for historical reasons preserved, never to be used again. Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed - all Triple Crown winners, are just a few with such honored racing significance.

The Jockey Club states, “To avoid confusion on the race track and in the breeding industry”, several other rules also apply. A name cannot be any longer than 18 letters including punctuation and spacing. It can also not end in the word “filly” “colt” “stud” “mare” or “stallion.” Names of living persons may not be used unless written permission is on file with the Jockey Club. Names of deceased persons will not be granted unless approved by the Jockey Club with a letter of satisfactory explanation. You cannot duplicate the name of a horse that has accumulated over two million dollars in earnings. Horse of the Year, Eclipse Award winners, Hall of Fame horses and those who have won any of the Triple Crown races all have “Permanent” names and therefore cannot be used.

These are just a few of the rules that must be adhered to. For a complete list please visit the Jockey Club Registry. There you can also type in a name and see if it’s available, as I know many of us did, in trying to think of a name for the Rachel Alexandra – Curlin colt, Jess’s Dream.

To summarize, if you want to name your newborn son or daughter “Saginaw” or “Carrot Thief” go right ahead, you won’t have any problem. On the other hand when it comes to your newborn colt or filly… I’m sorry, those names are already taken. 


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Older Comments about What's In A Name?...

They'll go for a Police name most likely. What about Mondatta (or however you spell it)
Yes, I doubt they'll name him anything that is related to big red though. I am stumped on the 2012 foal.
Do you like Secreking? I liked it, because it reminds me of Secretariat he has in his ped. plus the king part goes with queen Z.
I don't know, URR. I have no idea for Z12. For Z13 I like "Tapitscry" that was offered by Age Of Reason. On Z12 I am clueless..... I hope "Zenardini" will not be the name.
What would you name Z12? I like Secreking (Secretaraiat is back there, and he's the prince going to be king, as Z is the queen :) ), but I know they will go with something music related.
Ashley, I'll be waiting to see if your future daughter is actually named Zenyatta!
Haha. I remember doing that when I was a kid, Skipaway.
Skipaway, I did the same thing! I also tried to convince my husband that Rachel Alexandra would be a great name for a future daughter; he wasn't having any of that! Of course, he did say Zenyatta was perfectly acceptable.
He doesn't have a name yet, Ruffian65.
I still don't think Z12 has been named yet...
Thank you, I'd like to use that if I ever find a weanling
Buttery Pancakes.
What was that great name? Pancakes or something?
Me too. My favorite is still Macushla.
I keep a list of horse names in a notebook I have had since I was a kid. Someday they might get used in a racing form, but until then, they go with model horses & barn cats :)
Just named our yearling a month ago.

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