What's In a Name: Hester Prynne (GB)

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Hester Prynne winning at Beverley | Racingfotos.com

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Congratulations to whoever named the very first winner by the Galileo (Ire) stallion Mondialiste (Ire). The 2-year-old filly won a novice at Beverley on May 3 for trainer David O'Meara and is out of Dame Hester (Ire) (Diktat {GB}). The Geoff and Sandra Turnbull-owned filly is named after the most famous Hester of all: Hester Prynne (GB), the complex and dignified heroine of the American classic The Scarlet Letter–the 1850 novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

The narrative takes place in a Puritan community in Massachusetts in the 1640s; the protagonist of the book has a child out of wedlock and is sentenced to have the letter “A” stitched to the front of her dress for the rest of her life. The abominable nature of this cruel public humiliation has resonated for decades, and the novel has drawn the attention and the praise of other great writers (George Eliot, DH Lawrence, etc), not to speak of the eternal interest from songwriters, playwrights, and film directors. Good luck to the equine Hester Prynne, hopefully as independent and hard-headed as her namesake–and a bit more fortunate.

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