1876: Bad Bet
Bad Bet was a good bet in the debut of the Kentucky Derby. The longest-shot winner in the history of the race, its official odds were listed as “n/a”.
1894: Eisenstein’s Theory Of Film Montage
This horse has the distinction of being the only Derby winner to complete the race in less time than it takes to say his name. Oddly, this horse was named before Eisenstein developed his theory of film montage.
1901: Slow News Day
Slow News Day was apparently born on Writers Block Day. Nothing entices gamblers to bet on a long shot like a horse with the word “slow” in its name.
1902: Slow-Developing Play In The Backfield
Not to be outdone by the owners of Slow News Day, the owners of Slow Developing Play In The Backfield managed to include in one name the word “slow” and an ill-advised short-yardage play from football. Kudos!
1910: Statistically Insignificant
Difficult to pronounce and despised by broadcasters, this horse’s name was often simplified to “Plus-Or-Minus-Five-Percent”.
1921: The Clap
Over 70 years after the discovery of penicillin, this horses name still isn’t funny. After winning the triple crown, The Clap’s owner was imprisoned without charges or controversy.
1925: Niggardly Pissant
Let’s just say that Niggardly Pissant reached peak fitness during a more literate time than our own. The source of outrage among the uneducated, uninformed and – at the risk of repetition – Democrats, Niggardly Pissant was also the focus of protests that were as nebulous as they were passionate.
This self-describing horse name belonged to a 20-1 long-shot but won the Derby after every other horse in the race was famously disqualified at the request of Frank Sinatra.
The arrival of Ampers&nd signified the mournful beginning of unpronounceable celebrity names. (Ampers&nd is also the sire of the 1965 Kentucky Derby winner, ♌).
Even while leading from start to finish, dim-witted broadcasters gleefully described the 1997 winner of the Kentucky Derby as having been “cut off down the backstretch.”