A number of years ago, a Thoroughbred began his racing career with the name Mortar Forker.
Say it aloud, like an announcer calling a race, and you can see why The Jockey Club, the industry's registrar, made the owner change the name. The new name was Fun Tonight.
Last year, after a colt began his racing career with the name Effinex, I spoke to an official at The Jockey Club about how offensive the name is.
The Jockey Club could have forced a name change.
But it didn't.
Effinex, by Mineshaft—What a Pear, by E Dubai, won the Excelsior Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct April 25. Talented horse. Terrible name.
I often say, "Horses can't choose their owners." It comes to mind when you see a hopeless claimer, sporting a 2-for-46 record. Or when a horse is consistently placed in races over its class level.
It's also appropriate when horses with racy names slip past The Jockey Club and embarrass not only the registry, but the entire industry.
Effinex is saddled with his indecent name thanks to his breeder, veterinarian Russell Cohen. The colt races for Cohen's mother's Tri-Bone Stables.
She must be very proud.
(We could also comment about his dam's name, What a Pear, and his granddam's name, Perfect Pear.)
Every year, roughly 60,000 names are submitted to The Jockey Club and as many as a third are rejected, mostly because the name is already taken.
There are rules for naming horses. They may not exceed 18 letters and can't be the names of real people without written permission.
And, importantly, they cannot be vulgar or obscene.
I began covering racing full-time in 1984 and the first racy name I encountered was Ceasar Kimmel's Bodacious Tatas,
Bad, but hey, there was a horse racing in France in 2004 named Big Tits. The name was rejected in England but allowed in France, where apparently the phrase has no meaning.
There have been others, like Barely Legal, Golden Shower and Cherry Pop.
Many recall another that somehow slipped past the regulators, named Cunning Stunt.
Owner Mike Pegram has pushed the boundaries on numerous occasions, with names such as Isitingood, Zippersup and Letthebigcajundoit.
I've never met Russell Cohen or his ex-wife, about whom it appears he has strong feelings. I have a sense of humor. I like clever horse names.
But Effinex isn't funny.
Cohen bred, and his mother races, a good horse. But the name is offensive. Women in racing should be offended and outraged.
Unlike the case of Mortar Forker, where The Jockey Club corrected a mistake, this time the registry dropped the ball. The industry deserves better.
I'd like to buy a colt, name is Effinjerk or Effinputz, and give it to the former Mrs. Cohen as a gift. I'm guessing the first thing she would do is geld him.