What's in a Name? Tradition, Humor

1. Street Sense (Street Cry–Bedazzle): Breeder/owner James Tafel says there's no particular reason for the "sense" portion of his colt's name. The first part, of course, is derived from the name of Street Sense's sire. 

2. Scat Daddy (Johannesburg–Love Style): Owned by James Scatuorchio & Michael Tabor, the Todd Pletcher trainee was christened after Scatuorchio’s nickname. “Our last name has like nineteen vowels, so growing up everyone called my father, uncle, brothers… everyone was ‘Scat’" Scatuorchio said. Pletcher called the owner “Scat Daddy” and always threatened to name a horse after him, so Scatuorchio finally gave in. 

3. Circular Quay (Thunder Gulch–Circle of Life): Owned and bred by Michael & Doreen Tabor, the colt's title merges alternate meanings of his sire and dam’s names while mirroring the name of a port in Australia’s Sydney Harbor. Circular Quay the location is a stepping-off point for most attractions based around the harbor and is billed as “an exciting place to be on a warm summer's day.”

4. Curlin (Smart Strike–Sherriff’s Deputy): The chestnut colt derives his title from part-owner Shirley Cunningham Jr., who chose to name a horse in honor of his great grandfather, Charles Curlin. The human Curlin was a freed slave from western Kentucky who went through military training at Camp Nelson and fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

5. Nobiz Like Shobiz (Albert the Great–Nightstorm): A homebred racing for Elizabeth Valando, the Barclay Tagg trainee was named in honor of Valando’s late husband, Tommy, who published scores to countless Broadway shows such as "Fiddler on the Roof," "Cabaret," "Zorba," "Sweeney Todd," and "Sunday in the Park" during his illustrious career from the 1950s to the '80s. 

6. Stormello (Stormy Atlantic –Wilshewed): Bred and owned by Al Eisman and trainer William Currin, the chestnut colt was not named for any particular rhyme or reason. “It just rolled off the tip of my tongue,” Currin said. “There’s no Mr. or Mrs. Stormello, there’s no war story over some place called Stormello, it’s just a made-up word that rolled off a crazy man’s tongue, and you can quote me on that one.”

7. Dominican (El Corredor–First Violin): Owners Tommy and Bonnie Hamilton named the colt after the Dominican sisters at St. Catharine's College near Springfield, Ky, not far from the location of their Silverton Hill Farm. "We figured we could use a little extra prayer," Hamilton said. 

8. Tiago (Pleasant Tap–Set Them Free) : A homebred owned by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jerry Moss and his wife Ann, the colt is named after a son of Brazilian Sergio Mendes, a jazz pianist and composer whose first album went platinum with Moss’s record company in 1966. Tiago, trained by John Shirreffs, is a half-brother to 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, who was named after one of English rock star Sting’s sons.

9. Cowtown Cat (Distorted Humor –Tom’s Cat): Breeder and co-owner Jerry Bailey named the chestnut colt after the city of Fort Worth, keeping native Texans and fellow owners Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt of WinStar Farm in mind. Bailey also spends a great deal of time in Fort Worth with fellow breeder Lance Robinson, the final co-owner in the four-man partnership. The “cat” section of the name comes from the colt’s dam, Tom’s Cat, a Storm Cat mare. 

10. Hard Spun (Danzig–Turkish Tryst): Owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, the bay colt was named by Porter’s assistant Victoria Keith, who was reviewing a list of names released by The Jockey Club when she came across the title. “I guess I could make up a good story to go with the name,” said Porter, “but she just happened to come across it and thought it had a nice ring to it.”

11. Storm In May (Tiger Ridge–Laun Shaw): Breeder Kent Hersman named the grandson of Storm Cat before trainer William Kaplan purchased him for co-owners Teresa and David Palmer. "We tried submitting about ten different names along the lines of Stormin' Tiger, trying to put his sire's name together with the Storm Cat name," Hersman said. "We were already calling him Stormin', and we wanted to keep it along those lines. That was one we picked because it would be related to the Storm Cat-line and was also looking toward the first Saturday in May."

12. Zanjero (Cherokee Run–Checkered Flag): The colt’s name, translated from the original Spanish, means “water master.” That title is still used today to define the person who controls water supplies and irrigation systems. Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, the Steve Asmussen trainee was named after the Glendale Arizona land development The Districts at Zanjero, a 51-acre lifestyle center scheduled to open in the fall of 2009. The project is overseen by Marathon Commercial Development, of which Winchell is a founding partner. A side note - at Winchell’s chain of restaurants in Nevada, the Zanjero Wrap may be ordered for lunch.

13. Xchanger (Exchange Rate–Saragoza): Circle Z Stables altered the name of the colt's sire slightly - "They went for the x-factor," said trainer Mark Shuman. "X looked spiffy."

14. Any Given Saturday (Distorted Humor –Weekend in Indy): Owned by WinStar Farm, Maverick Racing, and Padua Stables, the dark bay or brown colt was named by WinStar's events coordinator, Mary Jeffrey, as a play on the title of the 1999 football movie "Any Given Sunday." "We have a name game every year," explained Doug Cauthen, president and CEO of WinStar. "We make a list and all of the employees and friends and family of the owners are welcome to make suggestions. Off that list, usually Elliott Walden and myself pick the best names. With the Derby being on the first Saturday in May, we thought it was a nice name. Sometimes names can be tough to come up with, we like them to roll off tongue and have subtle meanings. It's nice to let everybody get involved."

15. Liquidity (Tiznow -Boa): Owner J. Paul Reddam, president of the finance lending company CashCall, named his colt after a familiar topic. “Having enough cash, making sure you have enough money to lend, that’s liquidity, which is often an issue,” he said. “It’s hard to come up with unique one-word names for horses, and liquidity is a topic I’m often faced with. I thought it sounded like a nice name.”

16. Cobalt Blue (Golden Missile–Prado Star): The story behind the naming of Merv Griffin’s Kentucky Derby contender is simple; Cobalt Blue is the legendary entertainer’s favorite color.

17. Sedgefield (Smart Strike–Belva): Owners Tommy and Bonnie Hamilton named the colt after Sedgefields Plantation, a rare 14,000-acre field trial preserve just outside of Union Springs, Alabama. "Bonnie and I competed there, it was one of our favorite plantations," Hamilton said. "We did that several years at different levels, Bonnie would scout and I would handle the dog. That's where the name came from."

18. Teuflesberg (Johannesburg–St. Michele): Owned by trainer Jamie Sanders with partners Gary Logsdon and Donnie Kelly, Teuflesberg continues his sire’s tradition of being named after a foreign destination (Johannesburg is the largest and most populous city in South Africa). The colt is named after a hill in former West Berlin, actually spelled Teufelsberg, which translates to Devil’s Mountain. The hill was constructed by the Allies after World War II to cover a Nazi military-technical college designed by Albert Speer. Later, the US National Security Agency built one of its largest listening stations on top of the hill, which continued to operate until the fall of East Germany and the Berlin Wall. The buildings and radar domes are still in place. In the 1990s, a group of investors had purchased the hill from the city of Berlin and started to build hotels and apartments at the top, but financing ran out and the project was aborted. Unfortunately, the site has been severely vandalized since then.


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