Pick a Winner

Derby,Horse








Saturday's Kentucky Derby sure was exciting, as for the 3rd time in 4 years Calvin Borell (who sounds like a cross between Paul Prudhomme and Scotty Nguyen, n'est pas?**) won the race in exciting fashion. Sadly, for the third straight year the winning horse had a boring name (2010 - Super Saver; 2009 - Mine That Bird; 2008 - Big Brown), which is too bad, because the Derby winners have had some fantastic names over the 136 years of racing. (And bizarre.  And funny.  And head-scratching, etc.)


To honor the race, I decided to rank my favorite Derby names Ever.








THE TOP 14 KENTUCKY DERBY-WINNING HORSE NAMES OF ALL TIME, BABY!










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#14)  Donerail (1913) - Love this Donerail rolls off the tongue. Not to be confused with his less successful cousin horse Donnamartingraduates!1










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#13)  Majestic Prince (1969) - This just "sounds" like a great racehorse (or a special offer at the Foto Hut)










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#12)  Assault (1946) - I asked my brother who this horse was, and he said, "That's Assault, Brother!"2










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#11)  Baden-Baden (1877) - I have no idea what the name means, but I like the double-up. FYI: after he won the Derby, Baden-Baden was sold to Bill Backhouse. I swear that's true.3










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#10)  Seattle Slew (1977) - Is this a murdering horse?  Some sort of expired cole-slaw? Who knows, but I like it!










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#9)   Fusaichi Pegasus (2000) - "Fusao" is the owner's name, "ichi" means #1, and Pegasus is of course a winged horse. See, that's what racehorse names should be; personal, cool as hell and come with a story.










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#8)  Whirlaway (1941) - What a neato-mosquito visual metaphor for a horsey leaving the others in his dust.










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#7)   Omar Khayyam (1917) - Named for the smartest guy you've never heard of. (Look him up!)










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#6)  Gallahadion (1941) - I just like the way this sounds to say and hear....Gallahadion.  Sounds like an expensive Scotch, or possibly a metrosexual Knight of the Round Table.4










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#4) (tie)  War Admiral (1937) and War Emblem (2002) - I couldn't include one of the greatest names ever--Man-O-War--because his stupid owner refused to run him in the Derby! These guys are pretty close, though. (And so purrrty!)










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#3)  Sunday Silence (1989) - This was the first year I paid attention to horse racing, and I hated Sunday Silence, since I had arbitrarily picked Easy Goer and rooted for him, but I have to admit there is something beautiful and elegiac about the name.












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#2)  Alysheba (1987) - Daughter of Alydar, the only horse ever to come in second in all three Triple Crown Races to the same horse (Affirmed).5  This is my way of honoring Alydar, who didn't win, but also, Alysheba is just beautiful. It sounds great, and it's much better than their first choice, Allysheedy.6


and the number one name for a Kentucky Derby winner is....










Derby,Horse


#1)  Gallant Fox (1930) - Here's a horse with some pizazz. He won ten races as a 3 year old, including the Triple Crown, and then retired to Stud for 22 years. That's a living! Gallant Fox beat Gallant Knight to win the Derby, which just sounds like a Victorian poem waiting to happen. Finally, and I know this shouldn't count toward rating just the names, but Gallant Fox is the only Triple Crown winner to sire a Triple Crown winner, Omaha, in 1935. Beat that!




What about 2nd Place Horses, you ask? Glad you brought that up. I looked over the 136 horses who "Placed," and you could make an argument that the cream of the crop topped even the winners!  These were the best. (In Alphabetical order)  Alydar, Avatar, BagenBaggage, Bluegrass Cat, Casual Lies, Dapper Dan, Lion Heart, Rumbo, Summer Squall, Star Hawk, Sword Dancer, and Volcano.


As for 3rd (Show), the names were oddly quite boring. I guess there's a reason these horses didn't win! In all 136, I could really only come up with two good ones:  The Scoundrel7 and Fighting Bob.


Think my list could use a photo-finish? Take a look at the Top Three Finishes in Each Kentucky Derby and tell me where I went wrong.


HypeyHorsey
May 2, 2010




End Notes
** Prudhomme is a famous Cajun chef, Scotty Nguyen is a poker player originally from Viet Nam who says "Baby!" after every sentence, and n'est pas means "doesn't it?" in French. (The reason this Note has asterisks and the others are numbered is because I added it in Editing but was too lazy to go through and re-number everything else.)
1 That was the chant the Senior Class at West Beverly High School shouted after the School Board
2 Adam Sandler reference from BIG DADDY. I detest Adam Sandler; I only put the joke in hoping my brother might read the list if he knew
3 A Backhouse is an Outhouse. How'd you like that for a last name?
4 Weren't they all?
5 If you want 6 minutes of excitement, watch the three Triple Crown races from 1978, as Affirmed and Alydar went head to head - literally - in each race. (Alydar lost all three races by less than two lengths, TOTAL.) At least watch the Preakness; it is amazing, and had me yelling my head off at YouTube!
6 Ally Sheedy. Some things I expect you to look up on your own.
7 "The Scoundrel" would make a fantastic name for a bar, or a movie about a poker player, or a special Sandwich at a Deli. Actually, there is almost nothing that it wouldn't fit. Maybe that should be my new nickname.




See also: Hyperion's Favorite Horsey Movies




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This is Hyperion Racehorse. For realz!!!

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