Category: Horses

How Racehorses Get Their Names

                             How Racehorses Get Their Names

                               By Ryan Biddix

Horses peering their heads out of the stables. Photography by Matt Crum.

Tabasco Cat, Seattle Slew, and Red Rum may sound like names for a new, start-up brewery. However, they are the names of famous Thoroughbred racehorses. While they may seem frivolous, the rules for naming are far from such.

         So, how do racehorses get their unusual names?

Toby Edwards, Executive Director of the Carolina Cup Racing Association and former jockey, says while there are no “strict rules”, a traditional naming system still exists. Edwards mentions that the most common naming method is to name a horse after its parents. Many owners find a way to combine the name of the dam (mother) and the sire (father). For example, the parents of the horse Elope are named “Gone West” and “Proposal”. The humor writes itself.

However, many racehorse owners have moved away from this method. Many opt for a name of sentimental value. For instance, Edwards named his first horse, Houns Tout, after a cliff he grew up near in the United Kingdom.

Like jockey silks, The Jockey Club sets the rules and regulations for naming racehorses. Owners are required to register their horses’ names to compete nationally. They have created and listed over twenty-one different rules in The American Stud Book Principal Rules and Requirements. A majority of them pertain to classes of names that are “not eligible for use”. For instance, “names consisting of more than 18 letters” or “names similar in spelling or pronunciation” are among the many ineligible classes of names. To view the full list of restrictions, click here.

Each “rule” ensures that each racehorse has a unique and identifiable name to avoid confusion amongst participants and spectators. However, according to Edwards, on rare occasions, two racehorses may have the same name. This arises when international racehorses compete because they have a separate database of names. In that case, the suffix of the origin of birth is added to the end of the name. For example, (GB) for Great Britain and (FR) for France.

Race sheet for Steeplechase of Charleston 2019, including the names of competing racehorses. Photography by Gary Coleman.

It becomes apparent that the unusual names are the byproduct of strict regulations set by jockey clubs. Owners must get creative to have a name that is both memorable and eligible. One-third of names submitted are outright rejected, for breaking one or more of the rules. In this case, owners may submit several different names to only have one or two approved.

There is no shortage of interesting names at the Steeplechase of Charleston. In fact, last year’s first-place winner of the 5th race was named PLEASECALLMEBACK. Not sure that name has any sentimental value, however it surely creates comedic relief for a race full of high stress and high stakes.

While competing is a science, the process of naming is that of art. Join us at Steeplechase of Charleston 2022 on Sunday, Nov. 13, to bear witness to the display of cleverly-named horses and to cheer on your favorite competitors!


4 Lexus Models That Remind Us of a Steeplechase Horse

4 Lexus Models That Remind Us of a Steeplechase Horse

Steeplechase is an opportunity to watch magnificent animals explode from a standstill to top speed, zip down a track like lightning bolts and glide gracefully over obstacles for a mile or more. These same sleek animals serve as reliable beasts of burden in different circumstances, engendering our admiration and respect.

We love horses. And we love horsepower.

When we consider automobiles that remind us of horses, the brand that comes to mind is Lexus, whose timeless elegance and dependability are as equine as the Kentucky Derby. A ride in a Lexus, surrounded by cutting-edge technology and wrapped in a cocoon of safety features, conjures the luxury and splendor of riding a thoroughbred through a meadow on a spring day.

Which models from the Lexus bloodline most resemble this spectacular creature? We chose four whose agility, endurance and power are as glorious to behold as a Clydesdale.

1. Lexus LC 500

Lexus LC 500

“The extraordinary LC luxury coup was crafted with the same aerodynamic lines as a racehorse, beautiful and surprisingly agile,” says General Manager, Hendrick Lexus Charleston, Steve Strickland. The LC bursts from the starting gate to 60 miles-per-hour in 4.4 seconds and offers the dynamic handling of a steeplechase horse in tune with the subtle movements and commands of its jockey. Indeed, the advanced climate system of the LC adjusts to the body temperature of its driver like a trusty steed sensing the needs and desires of its knight.

Lexus IS 500


2. Lexus IS 500

The IS 500 F Sport Performance sedan debuted earlier this year and was engineered for exhilaration, the same feeling one has aboard a half-ton racehorse just before the gate opens. The Secretariat of the Lexus line, an IS 500 F Sport Performance oozes performance with its 5.0-liter V8 and 472 horses stashed beneath the hood. The sculpted lines of the IS 500 belie its aggressiveness on the open road and the thrill experienced by entering its cockpit and taking off.


3. Lexus GX 460

Lexus GX 460

Some horses are race horses, some are war horses; the seven-passenger GX SUV is a pack horse. With durable body-on-frame construction and five multi-terrain settings, the GX offers the strength, durability and adventure of a stagecoach team exploring the American West. The GX can tow 6,500 pounds effortlessly, thanks to a Vehicle Stability Control system that reduces sway and adds peace of mind. “While dominating any terrain, cruising in the GX offers Lexus-level luxury, including a 10.3-inch touchscreen and Apple Car Play® integration,” adds Steve Strickland.

4. Lexus LX 600

Lexus LX 600

The all-new, full-size luxury LX 600 stands up tall while navigating whatever Mother Nature lays before it. You ride high in the saddle in an LX, conquering new lands thanks to a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged engine, body-on-frame structure and more rigid rear suspension. But don’t be deceived by its off-road capabilities: you’ll be ensconced in the Lexus luxury you expect inside the cabin, with 19.3-inches of screen access, standard Lexus Interface, and heated and ventilated seats.


Steeplechase of Charleston is an experience to behold, and so should your ride to the event. For more information, visit



Equestrian Lovers Can Explore Middleton Place

When visitors are introduced to Middleton Place, the jewel of plantation row 15 miles up the Ashley River from downtown Charleston, they rarely think of horses.

The Middleton experience features the grand plantation, the spectacular scalloped grounds, the elegant Ashley River sliding alongside, the prominent family that owned the plantation, the beautiful 18th-century buildings and magnificent live oaks, and the opportunity to reflect upon the regrettable slavery and oppression of the people who built it all and comprise the deepest scar on American history.

But the 110-acre National Historic Landmark is but a sliver of the 7,000-acre estate, which can be viewed and enjoyed riding atop the gorgeous equine beasts that ambulate along the paths adjacent to the grounds. Choosing a one-hour guided tour of the rice fields, dense forests and open terrain of Middleton Equestrian Center, makes one privy to a miniature birds-eye-view of the surrounding scenery and the Zen of being one with nature, both in flora and fauna form.

Trotting the bridle path thick with pines and hardwoods offers views of the main grounds and many outbuildings, the signature butterfly lakes and terraced lawn, and the placid rice pond beyond. Led by guides, the ride is both a sensory extravagance and an educational delight, where visitors learn the economic, cultural, political and physical history of the plantation and its inhabitants. Guides also offer tips on how to increase riding comfort, both for the horse and for the rider.

Along the way, riders may espy representatives of the current inhabitants of the land and water, as one visitor wrote on Tripadvisor. “…so much information shared about the history of Middleton, and … animals (alligators, herons, turtles, snakes, bald eagle) … seeing that wildlife was a great part of the ride.” Dolphins may also be spotted breaching the water’s surface on the river.

The Equestrian Center offers boarding, riding lessons and the trail rides mentioned here. Freelance writer Marie McAden was amazed at her experience. “Before long, we had reached the rice mill pond, a favorite hangout for coots, marsh hens, heron, ibis -and alligators. Lots and lots of alligators… someone pointed out a gator swimming in the water with just his eyes peering above the surface. Then there were the two sunning themselves on the muddy bank and the six-footer eyeing the innocent coot.”

The land upon which Middleton Place sits was granted by King Charles to Edward Middleton, an Englishman who emigrated here from Barbados. When his son, Henry Middleton, died in 1737, 20-year-old Henry Middleton inherited the property, along with another 1,600 acres on the Cooper River. Arthur had many of the structures built and later signed the Declaration of Independence, which of course, did not apply to the enslaved Africans he commanded. Much of the property was burned down during the Civil War or crumbled in the earthquake of 1886. It was restored by a Middleton descendant in the early 20th century and later placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

With the growth in popularity of equestrian pursuits around the Lowcountry and other parts of South Carolina, the Middleton Equestrian Center has established itself as a must-visit for horse lovers.

Reviews for Middle Equestrian Center are uniformly superb, with a five-star rating from more than 100 Tripadvisor reviewers. Children as young as 10 may ride, accompanied by an adult.

Highlights: Steeplechase of Charleston 2020

November 15, 2020, starts with sunshine and smog rolling over the hills of the Stono Ferry Racetrack. Clouds pushing through bringing soft rain throughout the morning as people trickle into place. The skies open up and give way to miraculous sunshine just in time for the races, leading to a gorgeous fall day at Steeplechase of Charleston.

With amazing sponsors and numerous tailgaters, Steeplechase of Charleston 2020 is one for the books. 

The opening ceremonies kick off with a high note as Grammy award-winning artists Quiana Parler and Charlton Singleton from Ranky Tanky perform the National Anthem for Steeplechase of Charleston. All of which stream internationally on the National Steeplechase Association (NSA), Blood Horse, and Horse and Country TV! Click here to watch! 

As the riders begin to take off, Opening Ceremonies sponsor Hopkins Law Firm gave the first “Riders Up!” followed by Mark Peper of Peper Law Firm who also gave a “Riders Up!”

A Crowning Achievement!

Steeplechase of Charleston became the qualifier of NSA’s trainer and jockey of the year Hall of Fame 

trainer,  Jonathan Sheppard, and jockey, Gerard Galligan, who both left with winnings from 4 out of 5 of the races, a total of $50,000 in purse money. Read more about the winners here.

Another big winner? James Schelb winning the first-place raffle prize, a trip to Haig Point on Daufuskie Island! Charlie Black coming in second-place winning the raffle prize of a unique equestrian bottle of Blanton’s Bourbon. The raffle overall raising $2,100 for Hollings Cancer Center. Fun for a good cause!

Vendor Village

Between the races, guests enjoy the opportunity to explore the vendor village. Whether it was holiday shopping for designer boots at Charleston Shoe Co., handmade jewelry from Georgia Jewels, or boutique handbags from Darling Clutch Co., the most extravagant gifts were found!

Then, come time for a recharge, guests stop for a snack at Flight food truck or nitro cold brew from Pourly Grounded Coffee.

A popular destination throughout the day: LuXe Mobile Cigar Lounge.  Guests found an immersive cigar experience and a moment to take in all of Steeplechase.

Enjoyed By All!

Even Southern Charm star Madison LeCroy and The Righteous Gemstones actor Danny McBride are spotted taking in all the excitement of Steeplechase 2020!

The volunteers and Steeplechase team pulled off a wonderful, safe event. 

Thank You!

A huge thank you to all the vendors for providing both their time and their resources to enhance the Steeplechase experience. The day would not have been the same without these amazing businesses and organizations! View the full list of vendors and sponsors here

Steeplechase of Charleston 2020 Results

Steeplechase of Charleston 2020

So, what were the Steeplechase results?

The day of November 15, 2020, starts with sunshine and smog rolling over the hills of the Stono Ferry Racetrack. Clouds pushing through bringing soft rain throughout the morning as people trickle into place. The skies open up and give way to miraculous sunshine just in time for the races, leading to a gorgeous fall day at Steeplechase of Charleston.

There were a total of 5 races throughout the day. First, the Evening Post Cup, with $7,500 in purse money. High Sierra winning this first prize.

Then, the Publisher Cup with another $7,500 in purse money up for grabs. Penitence wins this one. However, High Sierra’s jockey and trainer were riding and training Pentience. Galligan and Sheppard win another cup with a different horse.

Third race up, the Post and Courier Cup with $20,000 up for grabs, the most of each race. Galligan and Shepherd grab a third win on another horse, Bet The Pot.

The fourth cup, Editor Cup (a $15,000 prize), goes to Zoom Zoom Zoe on Galligan and Shepherd yet again!

Finally, the Alston Cup worth $15,000. Dalton and Dalton clench this win from Galligan and Shepherd on horse Mr. Sarinana!

Top winners trainer Jonathan Sheppard and jockey Gerard Galligan leftwith winnings from 4 out of 5 of the races, a total of $50,000 in purse money. Additionally, the duo became NSA’s Hall of Fame trainer and Jockey of The Year. Steeplechase of Charleston was the qualifier for these titles. 

Here’s to Steeplechase of Charleston 2021!

Horse (jockey, trainer)

Evening Post Cup ($7,500 purse)

  1. High Sierra (Galligan, Sheppard)
  2. Lemon Again (Mitchell, Thompson)
  3. Vincent Van Gogo (Watters, Morris)
  4. Western Crusader (Dalton, Dalton)
  5. Lovely Sunset (Geraghty, Gomena)
  6. Duellist (Foley, Davies)

Publisher Cup ($7,500)

  1. Penitence (Galligan, Sheppard)
  2. Yankee Doodle Boy (Foley, Fout)
  3. Sim Card (Dalton, Dalton)
  4. Choklitcoverdonut (Geraghty, Wofford)
  5. Argentic (Macauley, Morris)
  6. Bowled Over (Mitchell, Dowling)

Post and Courier Cup ($20,000)

  1. Bet The Pot (Galligan, Sheppard)
  2. Thomas Cubitt (Mitchell, Young)
  3. Compass Zone (Watters, McDermott)
  4. Sherkali (Macauley, Kingsley)
  5. Eagle Fifty (Foley, Fout)
  6. Thomond Park (Geraghty, Gomena)

Editor Cup ($15,000)

  1. Zoom Zoom Zoe (Galligan, Sheppard)
  2. Notjudginjustsayin (Mitchell, Fisher)
  3. Animal Kingston (Watters, Morris)
  4. Mighty Mark (Dagle, Neilson)
  5. Junonia (Dalton, Morris)
  6. Undisclosed (Foley, Fout)

Alston Cup ($15,000)

  1. Mr. Sarinana (Dalton, Dalton)
  2. Lap of the Gods (Galligan, Sheppard)
  3. Cainudothetwist (Macauley, Kingsley)
  4. Koko Star (Foley, Fout)
  5. Bogey’s Image (Watters, McDermott)
  6. Heaven Made (Geraghty, Sheppard).