Interesting Derby horse names come from small towns, physical ch - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Interesting Derby horse names come from small towns, physical characteristics and even history

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Some people pick a horse based on its name, and here are some of the more interesting names this year.

Patch, trained by Todd Pletcher, has only one eye. "He had something go wrong with his left eye, and they were taking him to the clinic, and that's when they named him Patch," says Churchill Downs Publicity Manager Kevin Kerstein about the day the horse had his eye removed.

Many horses are named after another horse in their bloodline. State of Honor's father was To Honor and Serve, and his mother was State Cup. Tapwrit was sired by Tapit, and Lookin at Lee is out of Lookin at Lucky.

Like world travel? Gunnavera is named after a town in Spain. McCraken is named after a town in Kansas. "Owner Janis Whitham is from a town outside McCracken, Kansas," Kerstein says, "but the town name is too long. You can have only 18 characters in a horse's name, so she named it McCracken after the town next to hers."

Race fans who like military history will like Irish War Cry or Battle of Midway which is named for the World War II Battle of Midway in the Pacific.

For those with a sense of humor, Practical Joke could be your horse. For those who love Shakespeare--Sonneteer. For weather lovers--Thunder Snow, and for people with big ideas--Always Dreaming.

"That's what makes this Derby so much fun," says Kerstein. "If you have a personal connection to a horse, its name, or connections, if you can pick that horse as a winner and you have a personal connection, that makes it even better."

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