by Trey Nosrac
Every year, our sport has thousands of free lottery tickets available that we never scratch off. Spending money on lottery tickets is somewhere between stupid and wise; in my humble opinion, leaning toward stupid. Free lottery tickets are another story.
There are a million names you can select for your baby trotter or pacer. If the name is not in use, does not have over 18 letters, or is not profane, you control your brand.
Most of us fail to select names that promote the sport. Names we choose for our horses should not be frivolous. They should be reasoned, and each should at least have the possibility of recruiting new participants.
Driving down the main drag of my town, turning left at Burger King into the Industrial Park, and turning right for a cruise down the Business and Technological Parkway, I noted the names of factories, restaurants, services, manufacturing companies. Every mile or so, I pulled to the curb to jot names down in a notebook. In ten minutes, I had a page filled with 38 names. Here is a dozen that would make outstanding horse names for my newborn filly:
House of Rock
Why not use these names for a harness horse? Each is a possible window into our weird world of harness racing. Slapping the name of a business on a baby horse is a small step, but is not enough. The name itself is merely a desperate call in the wilderness. Each of us has opportunities to USE the name to nudge new participants.
Let’s say you select a business with a name you find acceptable for a baby horse. Do not just use the name and run. Try doing something fun for you and possibly a recruiting tool for new members to join our rather exotic tribe. Just find an entrée, then go in slowly as not to scare off the business.
From: Trey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: j – Bella Restaurant@info.net
Sent: Tue, Jul 20, 2021 2:25 am
Dear J Bella,
Get ready for the strangest correspondence of the week.
Since you opened your doors, my wife and I are regular diners. Love the joint.
I raise and race trotting horses. It’s a lot of fun. Each year, my broodmare (mother horse) has a foal (baby horse). She was a filly (girl) born in May. Soon I need to name this filly.
Every time I sit down in your restaurant to order my chicken marsala or lemon chicken piccata with a glass of house red, the thought crosses my mind that “J Bella” would be a nice name for a horse.
So, very simply, I am emailing to make sure that you have no objections to naming this baby horse J Bella. I do not need anything else, and this is not a scam, just a quirky, fun thought. I just don’t want to step on any toes by using the name.
Please reply with an okay (or not okay).
That email would be an improvement over merely using the name. But we all could do more.
Assuming you receive a reply email with permission to use the name, send them a thank you note with a picture or framed photo of the filly. Casually tell the restaurant owners that if the filly eventually shows promise or makes it to the races, you will let them know. Then perhaps have a little chat with the owner on a future visit to the restaurant. Should the horse ever win a race, send or deliver a picture of J Bella in the winner’s circle. There are many little nudges you can make without pushing too hard. You are not asking anything. You are giving.
Is the idea of naming a horse to someone outside of our choir a waste of time?
Maybe. However, this type of initiative costs nothing, and it can be fun for you and the business. The business will probably be flattered you used the name. You may meet new people and can paint our sport in a positive light. Nobody knows where the purposeful name may lead, but what is the downside?
Think of the idea like this — If 97 per cent of horse names are dead ends, that leaves 3 per cent that might be beneficial. Out of 1,000 purposeful horse names, if we find 30 leads, that’s great. One could be a game-changer.
On the other hand, 1,000 horses with names like “Speedy Pete” or “Fast Dan” take the sport of harness racing nowhere. A slight chance is better than zero chance. Any chance that is imaginative and backed with enthusiasm has possibilities.
*** Next week: A plan to increase the chances of purposeful names.