99 Exciting Racehorse Names Inspired by the Sport of Kings

Pick a winner for your horse with these interesting names from the world of horse racing.

Published February 16, 2023
Horse Racing, All Weather Track

Naming a horse can be an exciting but frustrating task. If you want to add a touch of class and sophistication to your horse's moniker, consider using one of these famous, interesting racehorse names. Unlike naming a pet horse, there are a number of rules applicable to naming a racehorse, which can make it difficult to find the right one if you want to stick to racing rules. Reviewing the most famous racehorse names can help you choose the best name, even if you're just looking for a name suitable to your horse that loves to run.

Most Famous Racehorse Names

Racehorse names can be serious business. These thoroughbreds are bred to race, and their names are carefully chosen to inspire them to greatness. Here are some of the most famous thoroughbreds in history:

  • Secretariat: Nicknamed "Big Red," Secretariat was a Thoroughbred racehorse who won the Triple Crown in 1973, becoming the first horse to break the 2:20 barrier in winning the Belmont Stakes. He was named Horse of the Year in both 1972 and 1973. This horse is considered one of the greatest horses ever seen in racing anywhere in the world during any era.
  • Red Rum: A Thoroughbred racehorse who won three Grand National steeplechases and two Cheltenham Gold Cups. He was also one of only four horses to complete the rare achievement of winning both races in the same year, doing so in 1977 and 1978.
  • Seattle Slew: Seattle Slew won 20 of 22 races during his career, including 15 straight stakes wins from 1976 through 1977. His only loss came at the hands of Affirmed in their Triple Crown match-up in 1978. Seattle Slew won the Eclipse Award for American Champion Male Turf Horse twice (1976 and 1977).
  • Affirmed: Affirmed won all three Triple Crown races in 1978 with a total time of 2:26:35, making him the first horse since Citation in 1948 to accomplish this feat. He also won 10 other Grade 1 races before retiring after a 21-race career that ended with earnings of $3,086,808.
  • Foxy Lady: The filly who won the Kentucky Derby in 1979 and Preakness Stakes in 1980, as well as the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Three-Year-Old Filly in 1980.
  • Adios Butler: A son of Menifee and Man o' War who ran second in the Belmont Stakes in 1940 and third in the Preakness Stakes in 1941. He sired Adios, who won the 1954 Wood Memorial Stakes and was voted Horse of the Year.
  • Man o' War: This horse was the winner of 20 out of 21 races, with his only loss coming in the 1919 Belmont Stakes by six-and-a-half lengths to Sir Barton. He is considered one of the greatest American racehorses ever, and he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1955.
  • Seabiscuit: A racehorse who, in a career that lasted from 1933 to 1935, became the most famous racehorse of his time. Although he was small for a racehorse and handicapped by chronic knee problems that kept him from racing at age 2, Seabiscuit became a champion at 3, winning the Santa Anita Handicap by 20 lengths, carrying 134 pounds. He went on to win the Triple Crown in 1936 and was named Horse of the Year.
  • Sir Barton: Famous for his match race against Man o' War among other performances, Sir Barton was the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 1919, having the honor bestowed on him retroactively when the title was formalized in 1950.
  • Phar Lap: Won 37 races from 51 starts during his career, which included wins in Australia's Melbourne Cup twice (1931 and 1932), as well as victories in England's Doncaster Handicap (1930), Epsom Handicap (1930), and Warwick Cup Handicap (1931).
  • Frankel: This champion racehorse is one of the most expensive horses ever sold at auction, having been purchased by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for $16 million in 2011. He won all 14 of his races, including three Group One races, and ended his career unbeaten after retiring as Champion 3-Year-Old Colt in Europe for 2012/13.
  • Citation: The first horse to win both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes in the same year. He was also the first horse to win $1 million in prize money.
  • War Emblem: Nicknamed "Hannibal Lecter," because of his penchant for biting as a colt, War Emblem won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but failed to win the Belmont Stakes in 2002.

Fun Male Racehorse Names

If you're looking for fun racehorse names, here are some ideas:

  • Lucky Horseshoe
  • Domino Duke
  • Dusty Eclipse
  • Buttercup Buck
  • Bandy Banjo
  • Stream Meadow
  • Clover Cloud
  • Charlie Chance
  • Kodiak Legacy
  • Mustang Gypsy
  • Angel Avalanche
  • Tennessee Clydesdale
  • Howdy Huck
  • Pistol Prancer
  • Moonshine Murphy
  • Mystic Mischief
  • Jupiter Rain
  • Midnight Milo
  • Hashtag Houdini
  • King Jewel
  • Colorado Colonel
  • Mystic Mocha
  • Midnight Magnum
  • Jumper Jingles
  • Rocky Rodeo
  • Rocky Rio
  • Diesel Ridgeline
  • Spirit Splash
  • Snoopy Soldier
  • Wildfire Bronco
  • Mocha Mixer
  • Sage Seminole
  • Stella Stepper
  • Willie Willow
  • President Wrangler
  • Moonshine Mozart
  • Roman Rolly
  • Rojo Renegade
  • Maximum Comet
  • Thunder Thumper

Fun Female Racehorse Names

If you're searching for fun female racehorse names, check out the list below:

  • Athena Apache
  • Angel Avenger
  • Eclipse Dreamer
  • Birdie Breeze
  • Autumn Bandit
  • Butterscotch Biscuits
  • Blossom Blender
  • Cinnamon Coco
  • Lady Luna
  • Aggie Arrow
  • Daisy Morgan
  • Daisy Defiance
  • Holly Justice
  • Fiona Fiddle
  • Rainy Rebel
  • Frisky Flicka
  • Nala Opal
  • Penny Pepper
  • Sassy Soldier
  • Prarie Prancer
  • Lucky Lola
  • Lexy Lightning
  • Luna Liberty
  • Miracle Mischief
  • Diamond Dreamer
  • Skydancer Rayne
  • Willow Jasmine
  • Shawnee Shadow
  • Shelby Scout
  • Clover Gypsy
  • Princess Annalade
  • Millie Magic
  • Sunset Rayne
  • President Trigger
  • Pixy Quest
  • Queen Rain
  • Valerie Victory
  • Sunny Surprise

Racehorse Names from Movies

Racehorse names from movies are a great way to show your love for a movie. These names can be used for both male and female horses, so you're sure to find one that's perfect for your favorite horse!

  • Easy Goer: From Secretariat
  • War Admiral: From War and Peace
  • Kingman: From Gallant Bloom
  • Black Beauty
  • Spirit: From Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
  • Finder's Key: From War Horse
  • Hidalgo
  • Shadowfax: From Lord of the Rings
  • Maximus: From Tangled
  • King Charles: From National Velvet

Racehorse Naming Rules

There are rules for naming racehorses. The name must be approved by the Jockey Club in the state where the horse is registered. In most states, the name of a racehorse cannot be changed once they enter into training.

If you want to stay true to the spirit of racing, even if your horse is not a racehorse, follow the Jockey Club rules:

  • Names cannot be longer than 18 characters.
  • Names cannot consist entirely of initials.
  • Names cannot end in any horse-related term, such as "filly," or "stallion."
  • Names cannot consist entirely of numbers.
  • Names cannot include names of living persons without written permission.
  • Names may not be offensive or suggestive, and may not include profanity.
  • Names cannot imply a connection with another recognized horse.
  • Names cannot be too similar to another active racehorse's name or a horse active in breeding - you can't name a racehorse "Flyght" if another horse is racing under "Flight."
  • Names cannot include names of racetracks or graded stakes races, and cannot use names that have commercial, artistic, or creative significance.
  • Names cannot include names of horses who have won either the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes, The Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Breeders' Cup Classic, or the Breeders' Cup Turf, or who appear in the International List of Protected Names.

There are many other considerations that may prevent a name from being approved. You can find the full rules here. A racehorse's name is not just a way of referring to an animal; it is a brand. The name of a horse can make or break their career. If possible, use a name that is easy to spell so that anyone who reads about it knows how to pronounce it correctly.

Need to Know

If you plan on racing your horse, check with the Jockey Club to ensure the name is available.

Choosing a Racehorse Name

Choosing a racehorse name is a big decision. After all, your horse is going to be known by that name for the rest of their life. Pick a name that reflects your horse's personality and temperament, or even one that reflects yours. This will help build rapport with your horse and make it easier for you to bond with each other.

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99 Exciting Racehorse Names Inspired by the Sport of Kings