You might think what’s in a name anyways. Why should it matter if I name my horse Jim McMahon or Pamela Anderson? So what if the name is tacky, foolish, or just simply distasteful you might think. After all it’s only a sim right? Let’s say your horse is one of the lucky ones. One of the few lucky runners that set’s records, wins stakes races, or maybe it even manages to crack the top ten in career earnings. How would your legend be remembered? Would your horse be remembered for being the greatest horse with a lousy name, or would its name speak volumes. How will your horse be remembered? Will it be remembered for its majestic beauty and power?
Let’s take a look back at the 135th Belmont Stakes. I remember the race very well. I was vacationing with my girlfriend in upstate New York. Funny Cide was going for the Triple Crown. It was pouring. I hate driving in the pouring rain. I kept debating in my head whether I should head south and go see Funny Cide run or just continue on home to Maine. I finally convinced myself Funny Cide wouldn’t be able to handle the grueling Belmont. I headed home and turned on the radio while the rain pounded my windshield and aggravated me intensely. Now the race was about to start. I had to pull into to a rest stop and take a break. I had to be able to listen intently, after all this was the big race. Would Funny Cide do it, and leave me with regret. Nah, it wasn’t going to happen. It wasn’t going to happen because of a fearsome beast. This beast was well rested from sitting out the Preakness, while training under Bobby Frankel. Frankel and rider Jerry Bailey had this horse ready. This horse was sired by the great “Unbridled” winner of the 1990 Kentucky Derby. The horse was a machine, a powerful work of art in motion. Funny Cide was beat before the race even began.
The radio announcer must have known it too because as the 135th running of the Belmont Stakes came to the wire he let out a roaring “The Empire Strikes Back”! He was ready for the call. He must have seen it coming. We all knew it, we all knew Funny Cide’s thorn would be Empire Maker. Of course Funny Cide finished third but it’s easy to forget. Blame it on Empire Maker. Just like that our quirky long shot Funny Cide was done. It was over. Empire Maker had shown the world why he was regarded as such a strong favorite. I was bummed but I must admit I was captivated by those roaring words “The Empire Strikes Back!” The call was the most dramatic part of the radio broadcast. It makes me wonder what if Empire Maker was named “Pinky” or “Ankle Biter”, or some other dreadful nonsense name; what on earth would the call be? So when it’s time to breed that next great Stakes Hope choose your name wisely. You never know what sort of horse will come your way. Do you want that great horse to carry a silly name forever, or do you want a horse whose name carries strength and pride. Just think of the call from the 135th Belmont. Empire Maker, now that’s a name!