by Trey Nosrac
Devious Threads was on my shortlist of possible names for a foal born this spring. Although the name seemed evocative, it does not have a purpose. Each new horse name should be a subtle approach to fish, or phish, in new pools. Our horse names should be flares that might catch the eyes and ears of people who do not know a trotter from a tulip.
It would be helpful if the new ears and eyes were attached to people with deep pockets. It would be beneficial if the new person had a track record of adventurous pursuits.
Finding a target is the first step of a purposeful name. If you think deeply, you can conjure up a list of prospective people who have assets and are inquisitive. These may be people you have never met or will never meet, sort of a Kevin Bacon effect with degrees of connectivity.
My list of people that fit this bill includes a money management mogul, an owner of a very prosperous construction business now operated by his son, another person who invented and marketed a phone app, a housing developer, a performer, and a politician.
If I think further and do a little research, some clever names spring to mind for each of these human targets that might spark an entrance to our game. Let me pluck one out of the pile to demonstrate what I mean.
Ralf is a friend of my friend, Joe.
I have never had the pleasure of meeting Ralf, and I probably never will meet Ralf because he resides on the Isle of Mallorca (I will save you a Google search, Mallorca is an island off the coast of Spain). Joe has visited his pal and reports that it is a lovely place.
A shared passion, music of the ‘50s and ‘60s, cemented a friendship between Joe and Ralf. Ralf is the leader of the Crystalairs, a European Doo-wop group that he started 34 years ago when he was 18. In addition to his musical chops, Joe has mentioned that Ralf is an entrepreneur, inventor of an app, and is a fun, fine, talented fellow.
Ralf is the one with the guitar and without hair in these videos.
Now, what does this have to do with our sport?
Probably nothing. However, I am considering using the name of Ralf’s group on my list of potential names for my next foal. Crystalairs would make an excellent name, certainly an improvement over the horse names you find in a typical racing program such as White Star, Buttons And Bows and Sitting Pretty. The difference is that my use of the name Crystalairs has the potential to find new participants. Of course, the possibility is remote, but I saw a t-shirt yesterday with the slogan “Anything is possible with the right attitude, a sledgehammer, and some duct tape.”
Should I register a baby horse as Crystalairs, I will tell Joe.
Joe will undoubtedly tell Ralf.
Ralf, who probably knows very little about harness horse racing, will smile and get a kick out of the mini-tribute from America.
That will probably be the end of the story. If so, nothing is lost. No expense, no hassle. The horse will race under the name and never know the difference. A few fans curious about the unusual name may search their phones and get a little entertainment from a video clip of a performance.
Maybe Ralf posts the story about a horse named after his group on a website.
Maybe Ralf writes a song about the horse and performs it at a show.
Maybe Ralf emails me and wants to see what the sport is about and asks to see photos or race clips.
Maybe Ralf shares the information about the horse with another Crystalair
Maybe a person in his circle of friends or fans asks about the horse.
The point is: who knows where strange rivers flow? We know where the name Sitting Pretty will flow.
Using purposeful names will not revolutionize or revitalize our sport, and the concept may seem silly. But why not assign horse names with a subtle, clever, targeted, purposeful mission instead of choosing a name that will lead to a dead end.
Little things sometimes make big things happen.