Naming Racehorses: What Rules Must Be Followed?

The world of horse racing is unique and exciting in more than one way. For instance, on an average racehorses have to weigh a whopping 1000 pounds (jockeys are miracle workers), there are only nine colors recognized for thoroughbred horses and you cannot just name a racehorse on a whim. 

Despite how they sound, names like American Pharoah and Ocho Ocho Ocho were not just random. Let’s just say that there is a method about these things, with that in mind take a look at the process of naming racehorses: what rules must be followed?

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  • You cannot name a racehorse after a living person without obtaining some form of permission.

Yes, when it comes to horse racing, you cannot just name a horse after your favorite living celebrity, royal family member, or even your family member. Actually, it is not totally off the table if the person in question gives their written consent beforehand. This document has to be handed in with the application submitted to the Jockey club. So, for horses like Hugh Grant, Mick Jagger, Elton John, and Courtney Cox to get their names, written consent was handed in.

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  • Special approval is needed to name a horse after a deceased person.

Considering the first point, you would think that the names of the deceased are all up for grabs, but that is not the case. To name a racehorse after someone of blessed memory, approval needed is from the Jockey club. Furthermore, it is not just up to anyone associated with the club, final approval lies in the hands of the registrar. To this effect, there has to be a thorough and satisfactory written request to drive the application home.

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  • Using horse-related terms at the end of the name is not allowed.

So, words like colt, filly, or stallion cannot be used as a prefix for any horse names you may be cooking up. It may seem a bit out there because these are horses, but those are the rules. On the flip side, these terms can still feature in the name just as long as they are not right at the end. So, names like Foal play, or Stud Muffin are all on the table.

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  • There should be no underlying vulgarity or suggestive terms in name.

As fun as this may come off for some spectators, when naming racehorses, it is prohibited to use any suggestive or vulgar terms in a racehorse’s name. Some of them are very subtle such as Ho Lee Fook or Sofa King Fast, but thanks to Urban dictionary, the Jockey club has been able to turn down some creative suggestions.

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  • New racehorses cannot be named after other horses.

The aim may be to honor the greats like Secretariat or Hurricane Fly, but that is not allowed in the horse racing world. This is quite a challenging one since there is a long list of prohibitions already on ground. With that in mind, you cannot just try to tap inspiration from top earners, or famous horses, dead or alive, research has to be part of the decision-making process.

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