Racehorses have strange names. Some are funny, some are outrageous, some are vulgar, and some are just plain sad.
Horseracing is very popular among those who bet on sports in Britain, the US and worldwide. For a non-horse fan like me, the best part is definitely the names. The tradition of giving racehorses unusual names is an old one. According to the American Jockey Club, each registered horse much have a “unique” name. No horses can have names that are too similar, and the names of famous horses are retired for good. Part of this is to protect bettors from accidentally putting money down on the wrong horse. Most owners also prefer to choose a name that has some personal relevance for them.
These things have combined to create a culture of weirdness in the horse betting world. That explains the US, by why the same thing in the UK? Britain obviously has a much older horseracing culture than the US. They have censors and regulations as well. It looks like in Britain it is simply a cultural institution that has stood the test of time. Strange horse names have been found since the 19th Century.
I’ve compiled a list of some of the more unsettling racehorse names. They aren’t necessarily the strangest or the funniest, but they are the ones that struck a nerve with me, albeit for the wrong reasons.
There’s no doubt what this owner intended to do with his horse after it could no longer race. It sure isn’t pretty, but I appreciate the honesty. Although many fans of horseracing prefer not to think about this dark side of the industry.
Lots of horses from the mid-20th Century
No, that isn’t the name of a horse. The adorably named horse, “Nut Buster,” came onto the scene in 1942, starting the trend of animals with sexually vulgar names. Back then the Jockey Association was much more liberal in how horses could be named.
• In both the US and UK racehorses are famous for their outrageous names, from the funny to the sexual to the frightening to the sad
• From the 1940s to 1960s extremely sexually vulgar names were popular in the US; these days the Jockey’s Club censors out the most offensive ones
• Some notables include “My Ex-Wifes Ashes” and “Oh No, Its My Mother-in-Law”
We’ve decided not to make this article primarily about horses with sexually vulgar names, but if we wanted to, the 1940s, 50s and 60s had the most. Blow Me (1945) is an especially memorable one, with other notables being Golden Shower (1955), Cum Rocket (1969), Jail Bait (1947), and On Your Knees (1977). It seems that a lot of horses have been owned by men very open about their sexuality. But Cum Rocket? I know it was the free and easy late 1960s, but that’s just pushing the envelope too far. Imagine seeing that name as an option in the online sportsbook in the US.
My Ex Wife’s Ashes
This one is truly morbid. Note that it is “ex wife,” meaning that the owner of this horse is probably not a widow. We don’t know who the lucky lady was, but you can be certain that the two of them didn’t have a very happy marriage. In fact, I would say it’s definitely the darkest name on this list.
Jill Missed a Pill
This one is either very sad or very funny, depending on how you look at it. Maybe the owner and “Jill” are the proud and happy parents of a beautiful child, even if they didn’t intend on getting pregnant. Then again, maybe not. Maybe the owner just wanted a name that rhymed!
Oh No, It’s My Mother-in-Law
The mother-in-law jokes have gotten so cliché that they aren’t actually funny anymore. Besides, in real life most men and women have good relationships with their in-laws. It’s mostly fodder for stupid TV shows and movies written by hacks. But I consider it funny that this owner disliked their mother-in-law so much that they made it public in the naming of a prized racehorse. That’s taking things to another level.
Can I Call You Dad
This one is really strange, and I’m not too sure how to feel about it. It could be interpreted as being pretty dark, a neglected kid desperately in need of a father figure. It could also be positive. The father figure final came onto the scene, and the two are sharing a powerful emotional moment. It depends on how you prefer to see things.
This brilliantly-named horse hails from the UK, where it’s my understanding that the word “dick” is often used differently than in the US. So it may be completely non-sexual. But I doubt it. I think it means exactly what it sounds like. And for the record, I think it’s hilarious.