Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Barbaro, ridden by jockey Edgar Prado, won the 132nd Kentucky Derby on May 6, 2006. The horse was euthanized in January, eight months suffering a broken hind leg in the Preakness Stakes race.
Barbaro, ridden by jockey Edgar Prado, won the 132nd Kentucky Derby on May 6, 2006. The horse was euthanized in January, eight months suffering a broken hind leg in the Preakness Stakes race. Andy Lyons/Getty Images
So many of you sent in suggestions for the names of Barbaro's unnamed full brothers — sired by Dynaformer, out of La Ville Rouge — that it was almost impossible for me to cut it down to a final 10. So, here are the runner-up 20. Maybe your choice is included among the following.
- Allez en Ville
- Local Color
- Dynamite City
- Force de Triomphe
- Cherry Bomb (maybe not dignified enough, but too clever to ignore)
- Norman Conquest
- Barber of La Ville
- Marrakech (turns out that Marrakech is known as "la ville rouge")
- Scarlet Memories
- Scarlet Past
- Dynamite Napoleon
- Power Town
- Made You Blush
- Frere de Force
For that final choice, I'm indebted to someone who helped fill out the history of Barbaro's name. Mrs. Gretchen Jackson, the great horse's owner, named him for a foxhound in a painting. Aha, but where did the foxhound get his name?
Turns out that there was a most distinguished Venetian family of Barbaros. In fact, I was advised that the Palazzo Barbaro, which is about five centuries old, is located very near to the Grand Canal. And, of course, as Barbaro was the chief horse, so was the Doge the chief magistrate of The Republic of Venice. I think that was the most original name that was proposed. But, alas, there already is a horse named Doge registered with the Jockey Club, so I couldn't include Doge in my final top 10. (And, just for the record, a horse named Venetian Way won the Kentucky Derby in 1960.)
Thank you all who sent names in. The response was so exceptional that I suggested to the Jockey Club that they ought to conduct some sort of contest for naming a famous horse every year. It's obviously good, intriguing fun for a lot of people.
Many of you will remember that a few weeks ago, I celebrated the love so many Americans had bestowed on Barbaro by sending a valentine to his parents and asking that listeners submit their choices for names for his two full brothers. One is a yearling; the other will be foaled next month. Neither has been named, but Gretchen Jackson, the wonderful owner of Barbaro, has said that since the great horse was named after a foxhound in a painting, that she would probably name the two brothers after other foxhounds in the same painting.
Presumptuously, I suggested that Barbaro was so majestic that his parents should be honored by having their offspring named in some way that celebrated their names — and if the glory of Barbaro himself could be incorporated, so much the better. I said I'd pass on the names I considered to be the most clever to Mrs. Jackson.
To be honest, I anticipated two, maybe three, four dozen entries. As it was, we were swamped with almost 2,000 names. We had many outstanding suggestions, built on the names of Barbaro's sire, Dynaformer — which suggests either power or the past — and his dam, La Ville Rouge — which gives us French, "town" and the color red to work with.
Believe me, it wasn't easy for me to judge. Maybe it wasn't fair, but I decided to eliminate all names that referred to Barbaro as a brother. Come on, it's going to be hard enough to be a kid brother of Barbaro without carrying his name, too. So Awesome Brother, Barbaro Bro, Brotherly Love and the like didn't make the cut.
I was also touched by names like Deans the Man, Dr. Dean and Richardson — honoring the magnificent veterinarian, Dean Richardson, who cared for Barbaro. Sweet, but just not right, I thought. Also, touching as it was, I just couldn't include Red Barber, which a couple of listeners submitted in memory of the revered late NPR commentator. Then, too, a few names I liked a lot, notably Rockets Red Glare and Boom Town, had to be excised because they've already been taken by other horses.
So, in no particular order, here are the top 10 I'm going to send to Mrs. Jackson:
Paint the Town Red, Blow This Town... maybe it's a little too flip, but it's so savvy.
I chose four of what you could call "red" names:
Le Scarlet Dynasty, Burgundy Punch, The Power of Red and Puissance Rouge, which basically means "the power of red" in French. (Listeners were thinking alike in two different languages.)
I chose one name that had nothing to do with wordplay. A listener recalled that when Barbaro had to be put down, Mrs. Jackson said, so eloquently: "Grief is the price we all pay for love." So the suggested name: Price of Love.
Finally, I chose three very clever names that played off of "ville:"
Coup de Ville, La Ville en Rose and Renard de Ville, which so sagely manages to bring foxhunting into the mix. If Barbaro was a hound, maybe one of his brothers should be a fox. Non, mes amis?
Or maybe, as one listener had it, I should butt out of the name game. As she suggested, Letmrsjacksondoit.