Kentucky Derby contenders - What’s in a name?

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What’s in a name? When horses are named most owners don’t yet know what the horse’s racing future holds. Careful consideration must be given to the name selected for the young horse. Do you honor Grampa Joe with this one or wait for the next one? Will the horse live up to its namesake? Horses must be named by the age of two. After the horse has raced, it is more difficult to rename. The strict rules involved in naming a horse are detailed by the Jockey Club

But this is Kentucky Derby week and fans just want to know what’s behind the name of some of the runners. The list below was compiled from many stories and interviews that have unfolded throughout the months leading to the Kentucky Derby and only details the stories behind a few of the Kentucky Derby contenders.

California Chrome – A California-bred that his owner knew was going to shine. Steve Coburn, who owns the horse with Perry Martin, said on a national conference call before the Santa Anita Derby, “I had a dream about this colt two weeks before he was born, and I told my wife, I said it's going to be a colt. He's going to be flashy with four white stocking feet and a big bald face, and his baby pictures looks just like that. I told them he was going to be something special.” Coburn also said that the colt’s nickname around the barn is Junior. Additionally, horse people will know that a lot of white on a horse's legs is often referred to as “chrome.”

Wicked Strong – This son of Hard Spun was originally named Moyne Spun, but two weeks after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing his owner, Don Little, Jr. of Centennial Farms in Beverly, Ma., wanted to rename him Boston Strong. However, the name was already taken and they settled on Wicked Strong. Owner Centennial Farms donates one percent of Wicked Strong’s earnings to the One Fund, which helps those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing. For the Triple Crown races, they’ve upped their donation to five percent of any earnings they win.

Danza – He was actually named for Tony Danza, star of the ‘80s TV show Who’s the Boss? This is a colt by Street Boss and the group at Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, who own the horse, came up with the clever “Danza” in a brainstorming session. Since Danza won the Arkansas Derby at odds of 41-1, the actor Tony Danza has taken notice, even posting his support on his Facebook page.

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