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Which Horse At Tomorrow’s Belmont Stakes Has The Best Name?
If you recall, we power ranked the names of the horses in the Kentucky Derby, and two of the top three in those rankings placed. (Full disclosure: I’m a seer). We took a break during the Preakness, but we’re back to rank the horses during the Belmont Stakes. Why? Because nothing is more fun than
subjectively ranking competitors based on a trait that will have no effect on their success making fun of horse owners. So here goes…
1. I’ll Have Another (*DISCLAIMER — Has withdrawn from race*)
This was a great name when it was just about alcohol. It improves exponentially when he keeps demanding more Triple Crown wins. In fact, it’s enough to knock the almighty Dullahan from his perch. Don’t look at him, though. You’ll go blind.
When we last checked in with Dullahan, he was coming in third at the Kentucky Derby. And then, duty called, so he spent the Preakness devouring souls elsewhere. He’s back now, as terrifying as ever, and he currently has the highest odds to upset I’ll Have Another (UPDATE: Again, withdrawn. Sigh.). To be fair, that’s probably because expectations are generally high for undead fire stallions.
3. Unstoppable U
Calling your horse unstoppable is incredibly bold. When your horse appears to actually be unstoppable (2-0 record), that name takes on a whole new meaning. No one can make fun of this name until Unstoppable U loses. As impressed as I am by “unstoppable,” “U” is what makes this name shine. It evokes the swagger of The U, which will be nice to associate with a horse. That kind of behavior usually comes from misguided, arrogant owners.
Even better, it opens the door for a Ray Lewis motivational speech. Imagine how he would try to pump up a horse. Unstoppable U may not have I’ll Have Another’s results or Dullahan’s murderous rage, but how can you not root for an unstoppable horse with infinite swagger?
He is named after the Atigun Pass in the Brooks Range in Alaska, which is difficult to traverse for bush pilots, is frequently shown on Ice Road Truckers, and is quite susceptible to avalanches. The point is that you shouldn’t cross Atigun. That would be enough, but Atigun is also likely to pass other horses during the race. The location he’s named after is going to be mentioned constantly. That is brilliant.
5. My Adonis
The confidence in this name is great, but it also speaks to a great deal of vanity. He was the first alternate during the Kentucky Derby, so most people have yet to see him. Thankfully, he has returned to the national stage to satisfy that vanity and to give America one last chance to gaze at him. I appreciate that.
6. Guyana Star Dweej
Guyana Star was a horse who won 52 races for trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal in his native Guyana. Dweej is Hindu for twice born. That is to say, as naming horses after someone else goes, it can’t get much better than this. It’s also confusing. He’s the Trinniberg of this race in that he’s named after another horse in an interesting way, but no one else knows what the name means. What a Dweej.
7. Street Life
Your first reaction was disgust when you saw this name, wasn’t it? You wanted to yell at the owner for coming up with the blandest possible distillation of The Wire instead of giving the horse a cool name like Hamsterdam. I did too, but this name isn’t misplaced appreciation of “thug life.” Instead, Street Life is named after family. His father was 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense. “Street” shows up in the previous 3 generations of his pedigree, so it was a given that “Street” would be in his name. What a sensible, boring decision.
8. Union Rags
The Belmont is the only Triple Crown race in a Union state, and horse racing is in many was a relic of the 19th century, so he might have some luck here. It’s a shame his father’s name wasn’t Border State Riches though. He could have won the Derby and competed in the Preakness.
9. Ravelo’s Boy
This horse is owned by Gustavo Ravelo’s Korina Stable. Gustavo’s trying pull some Mother of Dragons shit, and I don’t like it. A horse cannot be your boy. He is not your progeny, just stick with your own species. There are thousands of ways to announce your ownership of an animal without making it super creepy. For example – Ravelo’s World Beater, Ravelo’s Pride, and Ravelo’s Ego. Really, anything but what it is or Ravelo’s Dweej.
Dave Paynter is the contractor who built Bob Baffert’s house. Baffert liked the job Paynter did so much that he named a horse after him. On the surface this sounds like a wonderful gesture, but Bob Baffert is really saying, “Hey, everyone! Look how rich I am! I can afford to name horses after people who build my mansions for me!” Unless it’s some sort of earth-shattering architectural marvel, the money he was paid should be acknowledgment enough. Even more, Paynter is allegedly a longtime friend of Baffert’s. If that is the case, why didn’t Baffert name a horse after him sooner? Did it have to be in response to services rendered?
This is the only horse besides I’ll Have Another who competed in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. So… he’s optimizing his chance to get a Belmont win? I’m doing my best to optimize this name because it is still stupid and meaningless. Relevance is nice, but even that’s a stretch. I still don’t know what this name means.
12. Five Sixteen
Anthony Bonomo Jr. is the son of the owners and manages the stables. His birthday is May 16th. How aggressively lame. It’s not interesting to name a horse after a birthday to begin with, by to reduce it to numbers is even worse. Whenever humans are identified with numbers, it serves to dehumanize them. The same thing happens here. Why would anyone want to root for that?
Agree? Disagree? Be sure to follow Dan Spritz on Twitter, and write shouty, all-caps tweets at him about being a Masshole.
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