Friday, January 23, 2009

A Good Name for a Racehorse

At the risk of sounding woefully under-educated, I confess to having never seen either the musical 42nd Street or the 1933 film starring Ruby Keeler, at least until last night. (I promise this is going somewhere). Early on in this delightful piece of fluff, the musical director says to the dancers something along the lines of: "Congratulations, you finished two lengths ahead of the orchestra." It's just a throwaway line, but it says a lot about the times. First, that the writers were familiar with horse racing, and secondly, that they assumed everyone would know exactly what it meant.
My other favorite line was, "It must have been tough on your mother not having any children."
The best part of the evening, however, was when, after hearing a dancer's nickname was "Anytime Annie," Rico turned to me and said, "That would be a good name for a racehorse."
Last year trainer Nick Zito, after explaining in an extremely convoluted way how Da' Tara got his name (something to do with the Count of Monte Cristo and how when he washed up on shore he looked like a piece of driftwood, which is called "Zatara" and that's how he came up with Da' Tara), said, "You know how hard it is to come up with names."
On the Jockey Club website ( you can use the Online Names Book to check a name to see if it is currently in use or otherwise unavailable.
To our delight, Anytime Annie was very much available, which of course led to finding out if the other 42nd Street-inspired names we dreamed up were available. Which they were, including (but not limited to):
She Can Swing It
You’re a Cinch
Come Back a Star
Niagara Limited
Snooty Cutie
Small Town Bigshot
Watch That Tempo
Think You’re Swell
A Habit with Me
The Village Maiden
A Girl Short
It Must be June
Pretty Lady Co.
Pick It Up Jerry
and finally,
Company Dismissed

It kind of makes me want to buy some horses, just so I can start naming them.


Brooklyn Backstretch said...

Great post, always.

I'd be wary of naming a filly The Village Maiden, though--she might think that she was supposed to live up to it. =)

Jenny said...

Do you think if we claimed Tour of the Cat we could rename him "It Must be June" upon his retirement?