One of the best parts about the Derby aside from the fancy hats, the all day drinking, the mocking of celebrities and the general feeling of awesomeness that comes from watching the sport of kings, is the horse names. We like this aspect so much we devoted a Confessional Question to it (be sure to answer that). But today I decided to scroll the list of winners over the past 27 years and I picked out the four names I liked the best, and the four I liked the least.

Let’s start with the good.

Steppenwolfer

Derby Finish: 3rd Place

Year: 2006

This is a name for those about to rock. This horse was born to be wild, although not too wild, as it was trained to rock the Kentucky Derby. Steppenwolf was a sweet band of the 70s and it fits well as a name for a race horse. In doing research for this article (yeah, sometimes we research shit) I realize there is a good chance this name comes from German novel of the 1920s. Slightly less cool, but the book is about a mythical wolf, or something (ok we don’t do the best research), but to that I say horses aren’t wolves!

Captain Bodgit

Derby Finish: 2nd Place

Year: 1997

I really enjoy when animals have names involving military ranks, and Captain is definitely a good one, Admiral is better, but Private First Class…well actually that is still kind of funny but not for a race horse. For a race horse you need a commanding rank. As for Bodgit, I have no idea what that is. It kind of sounds like Boddingtons, which is a beer and beer is good. So what’s not to like about this name?

Go For Gin

Derby Finish: 1st Place

Year: 1994

This name appeals to the alcoholic in me. While not a gin man per say, I’m not one to turn it away, especially if this horse went out of its way to get some. Also at last year’s Derby, we dubbed the Gin Rickey the official drink of summer. This horse is just trying to get us ready for summer. Perhaps telling him that gin was at the end of the track is how this horse came in first. I don’t know, I’m no horse whisperer, yet.

Thunder Gulch

Derby Finish: 1st Place

Year: 1995

I choose this name because it sounded like it belonged to a plus size porn star and that amused me. “Hey, Thunder Gulch is running in the Derby this year.” “Really? I remember her in Barn House Sluts 9. She’s really moving up in the world.” “Oh, and here’s another coincidence, Gary Stevens is riding her in this too.” Do you suppose that guy I made up to have some dialogue saw the first 8 Barn House Sluts movies?

Now the bad.

Chief’s Crown

Derby Finish: 3rd Place

Year: 1985

I don’t like this name because chefs wear hats, not crowns. Or is this some kind of Burger King chef? Either way I don’t think a chef should have a crown, that won’t stop hair from getting in the food. What’s that? It says chief not chef? Well in that case I find the term offensive to my Native American background. It’s a head dress, not a crown! Naming your race horse, your 3rd place race horse, does not make up for all that Christopher Columbus crap. First place and maybe we’d talk, but not this damned 3rd place crap.

Victory Gallop

Derby Finish: 2nd Place

Year: 1998

I always associate a gallop with those fancy prime and proper type horses, and the snobbish bastards who ride them. To me this horse thinks he’s better than me, but at the end of the day I won’t be glue. Also this is quite the pretentious name, if you’re going to be that ballsy you better make damn sure you win. Nobody cares about a victory gallop from the first loser. Now gallop your ass back to the stable and eat your damned carrots, or oats, or hay whatever the hell is back there.

Ferdinand

Derby Finish: 1st Place

Year: 1986

How can anyone use this name and not think of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand and WWI? Or some big gay Vegas show type entertainer? Either way it’s not a name for a champion race horse. And one time in high school, a few friends and I made a movie with an Alf doll and we called him Ferdinand. You’re as creative as high school kids who play with an Alf doll. Dammit, now I have a Franz Ferdinand song in my head.

Charismatic

Derby Finish: 1st Place

Year: 1999

I don’t often think of horses having charisma. Except that Mr. Ed. That was one charming horse. Or that Don from Hot to Trot, beside the fact that he was kind of a dick. Then again John Candy can make damn near any character charming and charismatic. I guess what I’m trying to say is if you name your horse Charismatic, he damn well better be brimming with charisma and the only way I see that happening is if he starts talking.

When you go to answer the confessional question: What would you name your race horse?, and send it to use staff@crujonessociety.com keep in mind why some names are better than others. On the plus side, no matter what name you come up with, it will always be better than the name Jason Lee gave his son, Pilot Inspektor. Which would work for a horse, but not a human being.

See ya out in the pasture…

lee.s.hart@crujonessociety.com