Best Racehorse Names of All Time
One of the most fun aspects of horse racing is seeing how horses are named. Owners usually buy a horse at a young age and submit a name to the Jockey Club, horse racing’s general authority on horse registration and data.
Many times, the name represents a combination of a horse’s parents. On some occasions, though, there are other motives in play, and every once in a while, the answer to the age-old question "what’s in a name?" is hilarious.
That’s what has sparked this collage of racehorse names, which are designed to provoke a particular response. Some of the racehorse names in this collection are funny. Others are the result of interesting anecdotes. All of them are memorable.
Born: April 24, 2004
Bottom Line: Arrrrr
Luck never hurts in horse racing, and a little serendipity produced one of the greatest race calls in the history of the sport.
When a horse named Arrrrr ran at Saratoga on Aug. 16, 2008, and put forth a winning performance, track announcer Tom Durkin was ready.
Bofa Deez Nuts
Born: March 7, 2015
Bottom Line: Bofa Deez Nuts
Someone goofed in allowing this name to be approved.
Bofa Deez Nuts is a quarter horse, one that runs much shorter distances than thoroughbreds. He has run at Will Rogers Downs and Remington Park (both located in Oklahoma), and he found the winner’s circle for the first time in June 2018.
Perhaps the funniest part of this story, though, is that Bofa Deez Nuts is a gelding.
Born: Feb. 22, 2016
Bottom Line: Covfefe
The potential for a great racehorse name was there already, as this filly (born in 2016) is by Into Mischief and out of a mare named Antics.
As political and social media experts probably can guess, though, the name Covfefe was bestowed upon the horse following a certain U.S. president's infamous tweet where he used that word. Covfefe was an impressive debut winner in September 2018 at Churchill Downs. She then was favored in the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont Park and finished fourth.
But in November 2019, the horse won a $1 million race in the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
Born: Feb. 10, 2013
Bottom Line: Denman's Call
What Tom Durkin was to New York tracks, Trevor Denman was to California tracks. He was one of the top track announcers for decades and still holds that post at Del Mar.
Several years ago, a horse was named Denman’s Call as an homage to the great announcer, and as connections often do, they picked the right horse to give the name to.
Denman’s Call won the Grade 1 Triple Bend at Santa Anita in 2017. Unfortunately, Trevor was not on the call that day.
Born: March 31, 2006
Bottom Line: Doremifasollatido
Tom Durkin’s vocal stylings also were on full display when a 2-year-old filly strutted her stuff on Independence Day in 2008 at Belmont Park.
Doremifasollatido's winning performance turned heads, but it was Durkin's race call that makes people remember her fondly to this day.
Doremifasollatido, by the way, turned out to be a very good horse. She won the Grade 2 Matron as a 2-year-old and banked more than $260,000 in career earnings.
Born: April 6, 1964
Died: Aug. 5, 1976
Bottom Line: Dr. Fager
The story behind Dr. Fager’s name isn’t a funny one, but it includes one of the best "thank you" gifts ever given. Trainer John Nerud suffered life-threatening injuries after a fall from a horse. Then, he was saved by a pair of surgeries conducted by Dr. Charles Anthony Fager.
The horse’s connections picked the right steed to name after the brilliant doctor. Dr. Fager won 18 of 22 lifetime starts, and his 1968 campaign is regarded as one of the best single seasons in racing history.
That year, he won seven of eight starts and set a world record by running a mile in 1:32 1/5, a time that still stands as an American record 50 years later.
Born: April 15, 2011
Died: Oct. 18, 2017
Bottom Line: Effinex
This isn’t quite as egregious an error as Bofa Deez Nuts, but Effinex was named as a reference to owner Dr. Russell Cohen’s ex-wife.
The humorously named colt took a while to come around, but he blossomed in 2015, at the age of 4. He won three stakes races, including the Grade 1 Clark Handicap, and was second to the great American Pharoah in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The story had a sad ending, though, as the horse died from a ruptured pulmonary artery in 2017.
Born: April 14, 2010
Bottom Line: Fiftyshadesofhay
The "Fifty Shades" book trilogy provoked many strong reactions among its readers.
It is unclear whether or not the owners of this filly read the books, but whatever the case may be, they bestowed the name Fiftyshadesofhay on a filly that could run.
Foaled in 2010, Fiftyshadesofhay won five of 20 career starts (including three graded stakes races) and banked more than $1 million in career earnings.
Born: March 27, 2007
Bottom Line: First Dude
When Sarah Palin governed Alaska, her ex-husband Todd preferred to be addressed as the state’s "first dude."
Around the time of her vice presidential campaign in 2008, a mare named Run Sarah Run produced a colt, and First Dude stuck.
The horse turned out to be one of the best in the country. He finished second in the 2010 Preakness Stakes before winning the 2011 Hollywood Gold Cup.
Born: March 6, 2015
Bottom Line: Flat Drunk
When Flat Drunk debuted at Keeneland in spring 2017, the name elicited its fair share of chuckles. However, the 2-year-old filly flashed immense potential, winning her debut race.
After that effort, though, she was sold privately and, in a very rare happening, was renamed Bonneville Flats. It’s often seen as bad luck to rename an already named horse, and in this case, the superstition may be right.
Since being renamed, she’s won twice in 12 subsequent starts.
Flat Fleet Feet
Born: April 21, 1993
Bottom Line: Flat Fleet Feet
Try saying this one five times fast.
Flat Fleet Feet was one of the better race mares of the mid-1990s. She finished third or better in 19 of her 23 starts, and among her seven wins were the Grade 1 Top Flight Handicap and the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes.
As good as she was, though, one could forgive announcers for suffering twisted tongues while she ran.
Born: Feb. 1, 2012
Bottom Line: Harass
On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a horrible or inappropriate name for a horse.
However, when you put the name Harass into various horse racing expressions, or use it to describe actions during a race, the name’s meaning takes on a completely different connotation.
See for yourself in this video.
Born: Feb. 27, 1981
Bottom Line: Hoof Hearted
If you say this name slowly, with a break between the two words, this doesn’t seem like such a scandalous name.
But if you talk quickly, you’re left with a different-sounding name that would make a classroom full of elementary school students explode with laughter.
I'll Have Another
Born: April 1, 2009
Bottom Line: I'll Have Another
I’ll Have Another is one of the highest-profile horses on this list. He won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2012, but was denied a chance at horse racing’s Triple Crown due to an injury that forced his retirement.
The colt was named I’ll Have Another as a result of a conversation between owner J. Paul Reddam and his wife.
Reddam responded with that three-word phrase when asked if he wanted another fresh-baked cookie, and the name stuck.
Born: March 9, 1975
Died: Oct. 8, 2007
Bottom Line: John Henry
One of horse racing’s best underdog stories is John Henry, whose name proved apropos.
Named for the mythical figure who beat a highly touted machine in a digging contest, John Henry rose from obscurity to become one of the most celebrated horses in racing history.
He won 39 of 83 starts in his Hall of Fame career, and statues bearing his likeness stand at both Santa Anita Park and Arlington Park.
Born: Feb. 12, 2006
Bottom Line: Luv Gov
Credit for this gem can go to Marylou Whitney, one of the most legendary figures on the New York racing circuit.
The horse was born in 2006 and came of racing age following the saga that ended with Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigning from office due to an extramarital affair with a call girl.
Luv Gov competed in two-thirds of the 2009 Triple Crown, running eighth in the Preakness before finishing fifth in the Belmont.
Born: May 13, 2003
Bottom Line: Midnight Lute
Sports figures are no strangers to horse racing. However, one top-tier sprinter played into one of college basketball’s most bitter feuds.
After being beaten to a recruit, UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian called Arizona coach Lute Olson "Midnight Lute," and that name was given to a son of Real Quiet foaled in 2003.
Like his namesake, Midnight Lute made a habit of sweeping in late. His stretch runs earned him a pair of Breeders’ Cup Sprint victories in 2007 and 2008, as well as career earnings of nearly $2.7 million.
Mywifenosevrything / Thewifedoesntknow
Mywifenosevrything — Born: March 13, 2007
Thewifedoesntknow — Born: April 11, 2007
Bottom Line: Mywifenosevrything / Thewifedoesntknow
These two horses are forever linked because of one race in 2010. Incredibly, these two horses ran against each other on Aug. 22 at New Jersey’s Monmouth Park.
Even more incredibly, the two moved in tandem around the far turn, leading to one of the most bizarre stretch duels in racing history.
In the end, Mywifenosevrything more than Thewifedoesntknow.
Born: May 9, 2010
Bottom Line: Notacatbutallama
The name of Notacatbutallama stemmed from a game of Taboo played by owner Mike Repole and his wife Maria (more on them later).
The hysterical response made for an eye-catching name that used most of the 18 characters allotted by the Jockey Club, but the horse that possessed it was far more than a punch line.
He won a pair of Grade 3 races as a 3-year-old and ended his career with nearly $800,000 in earnings.
Born: May 13, 2005
Bottom Line: Onoitsmymothernlaw
To this day, nobody’s really sure what caused the connections of Onoitsmymothernlaw to name her that.
She didn’t run often (just four career starts), but her career included a win at Saratoga Race Course, and the race call included the hysterical comment, "Onoitsmymothernlaw … won't go away!"
Painting the Sky
Born: March 23, 2013
Bottom Line: Painting the Sky
Painting the Sky is one of the most eye-catching thoroughbreds in the country. She’s a "paint" horse, meaning she has patches of brown and white hair all over her body.
She’s one of a select few paint thoroughbreds in recent racing history, and she turned plenty of heads whenever she ran.
She won two of 12 starts from 2015 to 2017 while racing on the Louisiana circuit.
Born: March 8, 2004
Bottom Line: Panty Raid
This is another one for the "Jockey Club goofed" file.
Somehow, this name was approved, and the filly saddled with it was able to run.
Panty Raid won five of 10 career starts, including two Grade 1 races, and she wound up earning more than one million dollars.
Born: Jan. 31, 2001
Bottom Line: Pollard’s Vision
In the early-2000’s, the book "Seabiscuit" inspired a movie and gave horse racing a boost in the public eye.
Seabiscuit’s longtime jockey, Red Pollard, was blind in one eye, as was this horse that came about when the book and feature film were prominent.
Pollard’s Vision earned six victories, including four graded stakes wins, and banked more than $1.4 million in career earnings.
Stopchargingmaria / Stopshoppingmaria / Stopspendingmaria
Stopchargingmaria — Born: March 26, 2011
Stopshoppingmaria — Born: Feb. 21, 2009
Stopspendingmaria — Born: March 8, 2008
Bottom Line: Stopchargingmaria / Stopshoppingmaria / Stopspendingmaria
These horses were all owned by Mike Repole, who made his fortune as the co-founder of Glaceau, which was sold to Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion in 2007.
However, despite his wealth, Repole apparently is not keen on the spending habits of his wife, Maria. He named several horses in this vein, and some of them could really run.
Stopchargingmaria, for instance, won more than $3 million in her career, and among her triumphs was a win in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Born: April 8, 1986
Bottom Line: Yakahickamickadola
It took a lot to tongue-tie legendary announcer Tom Durkin. This name, however, proved too much for him when the horse bearing it ran at Hialeah in 1989.
The horse wasn’t much of a runner, winning just one of 17 lifetime starts, but he gave us a call that’s unforgettable in several ways.
Related: Best Horse Racing Tracks in the World