The Weirdest Horse Names In Breeders Cup History

Unlike some sporting events, the Breeders' Cup does not like to keep its fans in suspense, with the 2013 site already chosen four months before the 2012 race is scheduled. The Breeders' Cup must feel like a November rite of passage to the people of Arcadia, California, home to the Santa Anita race track, which by next year will have hosted the race four out of the previous six years. Says Mike Rogers, President of the Stronach Group's Racing Division: “Santa Anita's back-to-back running of the Breeders' Cup in 2008 and 2009 produced some of the top performances in the event's history and we are looking forward to again showcasing the world's greatest athletes in the entertainment capital of the world.” Of course, those would be much different athletes than the ones we're used to seeing on TV. They have different names, too, as the owners of thoroughbreds have always tried to give their horses quirky and memorable names. The following are some of the weirdest horse names ever to appear on the schedule at the Breeders' Cup (regardless of where the race was held).

Cat Thief.

Clearly playing off the phrase "cat burglar", this horse stole the show at the 1999 Breeders' Cup Classic. The handicappers had the three-year old colt as the 6th favorite on the board. A direct descendant of the great Kentucky champion Alydar, Cat Thief rewarded faithful gamblers with a $41 payout on a $2 bet.

Tiznow.

There was no time like the present, twice, when Tiznow was hogging all the ink at the Daily Racing Form. Until 2002, this tough-minded mudder was the only Breeders' Cup winner of this millennium, taking the 2000 and 2001 contests. The first time as a long shot, he edged Giant's Causeway by a neck, and the next year he did it again, despite 10-1 odds. It was kind of hard to overlook him after that.

Squirtle Squirt.

Who knows what the back story is behind Squirtle Squirt's name? Somebody must've just thought it was really fun to say, "Squirtle Squirt" The winner of the 2001 Breeders' Cup Sprint (at the age of three) finished his career with an 8-4 record, and would post earnings in excess of a million dollars.

Da Hoss.

In the classic western, Big Jake, John Wayne's irrepressible character had a dog which was simply called, "Dog". In 1996 and 1998, that old-school sensibility found its way into the Breeders' Cup Mile record books, when Da Hoss proved that nouns can win races, too. Injury-prone though he may have been, at the end of the day, he was still Da Hoss.

Ghostzapper.

By 2004, cable television was ripe with so-called "ghost hunters", who would head off to haunted environs with all sorts of electronic gizmos in hopes of capturing evidence of the supernatural. Meanwhile, at the Breeders' Cup Classic, a horse named Ghostzapper wowed the crowd and made the rest of the field disappear, closing out the mile-long race by three lengths in just under two minutes.

High Chaparral.

The 2002 Breeders' Cup was plagued by an insider-betting scandal, but was also notable for the first appearance of an Irish horse named High Chaparral, who came back from a 5th-place start out of the gate to win the 1.5 mile-long Turf race (earning the $2 million purse). And he did it again the following year, the first horse to ever take back to back Turf events.

Ouija Board.

Any occultist worth his or her salt could've predicted that Ouija Board was going to claim the 2004 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf competition. They might not have guessed, however, that she would have plodded to the finish line in 2:18.25, the second-slowest winning time in the event's history, and they would have been as surprised as anyone else when she did it again (as a five year-old) in 2006. That's the spirit!

Skywalker.

By 1986, three Star Wars movies had dominated the box office for nearly a decade, and had set all manner of new standards for Hollywood film-making. Out of the countless Star Wars fans worldwide, one of the most dedicated must've been the owner of race horse named Skywalker, winner of that year's Breeders' Cup Classic, held at Santa Anita race track. To claim that victory, he had to beat out the top two favorites, capping off his best year ever.

Friendly Lover.

With his duality-laden moniker, Friendly Lover never really got it together at the Breeders' Cup. He competed in the 1995 Sprint race, finishing in fifth place. He tried again the next year, and came in a depressing 11th. Like him or love him, you can understand that the bettors probably weren't overly enamoured with him. Still, as one might expect, Friendly Lover went on to have a successful career as a stud.

Macho Uno.

Unique names were in Macho Uno's bloodline (via Stronach Stables) long before he came along; he is the progeny of the 1994 American Horse of the Year and U.S. Racing Hall of Famer Holy Bull. In 2000, Macho Uno won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile race in 2000. The white stallion is also half-brother to one of racing's elite sires, Awesome Again.