What's In a Name

What's In a Name: Lady Clementine

Lady Clementine (GB) is a supremely fitting name for the Churchill (Ire) 3-year-old filly who won so well at Del Mar last Saturday. Clementine Ogilvy Spencer Churchill, nee Hozier (1885-1977), was the wife of the famous British politician and WW2 leader for 56 intense and fateful years. "Fortitude" is an expression that seems to abound in a recent novelized account of the life of Lady Clementine. The union was a loving and successful one by all accounts, even if the husband had quite a reputation for being mercurial and unpredictable,...

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What's In A Name: Neck On The Nile, Jilted Bride

Is the naming of fillies better suited to witty wordplay around the subject of love and attraction? It certainly seems so from the brilliant names of some recent US winning fillies and mares. Take, for instance, Indiana victor Neck on the Nile (Cairo Prince) and out of Kiss a Vet. The name is an original mix of levity, cleverness, alliteration and more. Romantic mishaps are very much to the fore in the cases of Iowa winner Jilted Bride (Wicked Strong) out of Cry at My Wedding and Churchill scorer Runaway...

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What's in a Name? Lost Ark, Park Avenue, and Autostrada

1st-Belmont, $90,000, Msw, 7-3, 2yo, 5 1/2f, 1:04.38, ft, 5 1/2 lengths. LOST ARK (c, 2, Violence--Marion Ravenwood {SW, $112,598}, by A.P. Indy) is a half-brother to both GI Belmont S. runner-up Nest (Curlin), GISW, $1,130,550 and GI Santa Anita H. winner Idol (Curlin), GISW, $426,964. Sales History: $275,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $49,500. O-Harrell Ventures, LLC; B-Ashview Farm & Colts Neck Stables (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. There is a tight connection between horse and dam in the name of Belmont 2yo winner Lost Ark. Marion Ravenwood is...

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What's In a Name: Queen of the Skies

Whoever named Chelmsford 3-year-old winner Queen of the Skies (GB) (Lope de Vega (Ire) is well up on both early aviation and historic achievements. "West With The Night" was the title of a famous memoir by Beryl Markham (1902-1986), an aviator of incredible distinction. Markham grew up in Kenya and started to fly there as a "bush pilot," but her historic feat was a transatlantic crossing in 1936, when she flew westward from Abingdon (England) and against the prevailing ocean winds, eventually running out of fuel and crashlanding in Nova...

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What's In a Name? Late September, Nostalgic, Marital Bliss

Churchill Downs, $80,418, Msw, 5-20, 2yo, 4 1/2f, :52.05, ft, 1/2 length. LATE SEPTEMBER (c, 2, Munnings--Hello Maggie May {MSW, $264,687}, by Lemon Drop Kid) O-Dew Sweepers LLC; B-Coteau Grove Farms, LLC (LA); T-George R. Arnold, II A number one song in America in the long hot summer of 1971 had these very first two lines: Wake up, Maggie, I think I got somethin' to say to you/It's late September and I really should be back at school. The song was called "Maggie May" and made mullet-haired, raspy-voiced co-author Rod...

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What's in a Name? Mr. Baffert, Doppelganger, and More

Mr. Baffert, c, 2, Bodemeister--Commandaria, by Smart Strike. Monterrico, 11-14, Maiden, 1000m. B-Sanford Robertson (KY). The one and only Mr. Bob Baffert has had quite a share of intriguingly named winners in the last few weeks. Incidentally, Baffert is himself the namesake of a brilliant Peruvian (and U.S.-bred) colt by his old alumnus Bodemeister--the 2-year-old being a fast horse who won by almost five lengths at five furlongs on his racetrack debut (from another hemisphere in more ways than one?). 8th-Los Alamitos, $54,312, Msw, 12-11, 2yo, 6f, 1:09.21, ft, 3...

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What's in a Name: Trafalgar, Miles D, Vergara, Amendment Nineteen, Vantarsi

"England expects that every man will do his duty" were the eloquent and terrifying orders of Viscount Horatio Nelson before the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), where the great admiral annihilated the French fleet and destroyed Napoleon's maritime ambitions forever--losing his life to an enemy musket ball in the bargain. The Oct. 2 Churchill Downs winner TRAFALGAR, a courageous come-from-the-next-county closer, has more than done his duty and is thoughtfully named. 7th-Churchill Downs, $122,699, Msw, 10-2, 2yo, 1m, 1:35.61, ft, 2 1/4 lengths. TRAFALGAR (c, 2, Lord Nelson--Southern Drifter, by Dixie...

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What's In a Name: Torquator Tasso (Ger)

The name of the wonderful and deserving winner of the 2021 Arc De Triomphe worries me. Why the letter 'R' at the end of the first noun? No-final-R Torquato Tasso (1544-1595) was another Italian poet who thought as big as Hollywood and wrote incredibly long epic poems about knights in shining armors and their girlfriends, like his (better) predecessor Ludovico Ariosto. I have asked a few Teutonic friends if "Torquator" means anything technical, colloquial or otherwise in German, to no avail. So word play is out. Do only impressionable and...

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What's In A Name?: Degas, Double the Gold, Norma Jean B., Carpe Eros

DEGAS It's wonderful to have a son of established stallion Munnings (Speightstown) called Degas. From artist to artist: from celebrated English traditionalist Alfred Munnings (1878-1959) to major French Impressionist Edgar Degas (1834-1917), both great painters of horse scenes--and not only, obviously. Artists have got to stick together. 7th-Timonium, $52,080, Opt. Clm ($16,000), 8-28, 3yo/up, 6 1/2f, 1:20.04, ft, 4 lengths. DEGAS (g, 4, Munnings--Welcome Dance {MSW, $164,442}, by Henny Hughes) Lifetime Record: 23-2-4-6, $109,960. O-John Oller & C and B Stables; B-Ramona S. Bass, LLC (KY); T-Charles L. Frock DOUBLE...

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What's In a Name: Harrow, Harrovian and Nuvolari

One single racing day in England--Thursday, Sept. 9-was rich in suggestive racehorse names. Two winners in Doncaster within two hours of each other-juvenile colt Harrow (Ire) (El Kabeir--School Run {Ire} by Invincible Spirit {Ire}) and 5-year-old gelding Harrovian (GB) (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}--Alma Mater {GB} by Sadler's Wells)--manifested ingenious connections (via their dams' names) to the famous public school founded in 1572 and attended by young Winston Churchill. Singular coincidence. With Epsom winner Nuvolari (GB) (c, 2, by Time Test {GB}--Luang Prabang {Ire} by Invincible Spirit {Ire}) we are in another territory....

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What's in a Name? O Captain and Leopold Bloom

On this side of the Atlantic, Gulfstream 2-year-old winner O CAPTAIN (c, 2, Carpe Diem--Mama Nadine {SW}, by A.P. Indy) connects Walt Whitman's most famous poem ("O Captain, My Captain," on the death of President Lincoln) with Roman bard Horace's "Carpe Diem/Seize The Day," probably via the 1989 movie "Dead Poets Society," where an English lit teacher played by Robin Williams inspires his students to great ambitions with the help of both poets. On the other side of the pond, Thirsk juvenile winner LEOPOLD BLOOM (c, 2, Ulysses {Ire}--Zuhoor Baynoona...

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What's In a Name: La Petite Coco (Ire)

Coco has many different meanings in French and it is maybe futile to try to divine which one caught the fancy of the breeder and first owner of brave 3-year-old filly La Petite Coco (Ire) (Ruler of the World {Ire}--La Petite Virginia {Ger}, by Konigstiger {Ger})--a brilliant winner of the G3 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Give Thanks S. at Cork on Saturday. But one of those many meanings is a terme affectueux, a very popular term of endearment, equivalent to 'dear', 'darling', or 'sweetie'. Famously, "Mais non, mon coco," is...

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