The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States have generated a groundswell of patriotism, and Thoroughbred names are no exception. Owners have named their young racing prospects in tribute to the country and those who defend and care for it.
Among the name choices submitted to, and accepted by, The Jockey Club are America The Brave, United Spirit, Freedom Prevails, Freedom Reigns, America United, Bless Our Nation, Patriot's Pride, Some Gave All, Wave the Flag, Unfurl the Flag, Spirit of U S A, Operation Justice, Enduring Freedom, Infinite Justice, and We Will Prevail.
"The naming of Thoroughbreds is a very personal and important activity for owners, so it comes as no surprise that a number of them would want to pay homage to the countless thousands of innocent victims of the senseless attacks," said Gary Carpenter, The Jockey Club's executive vice president and executive director. "Such heartening gestures are subtle but meaningful tokens of unity."
The majority of the patriotically-named Thoroughbreds are yearlings. Three of them--America the Brave, Freedom Prevails, and We Will Prevail--are owned by David and Jill Heerensperger of Bellevue, Wash.
"On (Sept. 11), the day of the attacks, we were watching the tragedy unfold on television along with the rest of America and began jotting down potential names that conjured up the American spirit," Jill Heerensperger said. "We really wanted a good name for the Quiet American colt we had bought the day before, and America the Brave just captured our pride in being American."
Marty and Pam Wygod of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., have named two of their yearlings Patriot's Pride and Unfurl the Flag.
"I feel it is one small way of honoring the heroes and victims of Sept. 11," Pam Wygod said. "And perhaps these names will be a constant reminder to us of the pride and unity that exists in our country today."