When thoroughbred horse owner Stephen McCann partnered with trainer Bob Hess Jr. to claim a 5-year-old from California breeding for $40,000 in Del Mar last November 27, he said he was somewhat surprised by the horse’s name: Royal Trump.
McCann hypothesised that breeders Larry and Marianne Williams appointed the minister’s son Wildcat after Donald J. Trump, 45The tenth President of the United States. The horse, which was produced from a mare called Royal Woodman, was born on May 8, 2015, a month before Trump announced his candidacy for president. It was to be named later.
“I didn’t want to make a political statement, but it was controversial,” McCann said. The elections have just taken place. Trump is a character, but I thought, “It’s a bit like Coffee” — a reference to the LNJ Foxwoods-owned runner named after Trump’s late-night tweet. Covfefe, she will go on to win six out of eight matches, including the Breeders’ Filely & Mare Sprint Cup and be the 2019 sprinter
Royal Trump hasn’t been entirely successful, though, having won six of 24 starts, earning more than $200,000, when McCann and Hess got him last November.
Then the January 6 rebellion occurred, when thousands of Trump supporters who refused to accept the fact that Joe Biden had defeated Trump in the election stormed the US Capitol building in Washington, DC.
McCann said that at that moment, he didn’t want anything to do with a horse that associates the term “royal” with “Trump.”
“Maybe he would like to be king,” McCann said of the former president.
McCann called Hess, and asked if they could change the name. “I’m not that experienced,” said McCann, a software entrepreneur in Northern California who bought his first horses a few years ago. Bob said, ‘You have to apply to The Jockey Club. So I sent an email.”
McCann came up with a suitable alternative: a peaceful transition. This name is a reference to what is supposed to happen between the presidential election in November and Inauguration Day in January when a new president is sworn in. The transfer of power between Trump and Biden has been difficult.
McCann emailed The Jockey Club on January 8.
Dear Jockey Club,
I am writing to request that the name of the racehorse be changed to “Royal Trump,” as Robert Hess Jr. and I announced at Del Mar last November.
At the time, I understood that the name had a controversial connotation, but it seemed to me a harmless joke.
Unfortunately, things are different now. After the events of this week, I feel the name has become quite controversial. Regardless of the nature of politics, there are many strong feelings about the name “Trump.”
Names and words are important and their meanings and effects can evolve. I feel that the name “Trump” is now so controversial that it may detract from the spirit and positivity of the racing culture. The last thing the sport (and the horse) needs is the boos (some in) the crowd as “Royal Trump” enters the winner’s circle.
For these reasons, I humbly submit to the Jockey Club this proposal to change the name of Royal Trump to Peaceful Transfer.
Thank you for your attention. Bob and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
According to The Jockey Club’s rulebook, names can be changed at any time before a horse’s first race. The rule continues “normally,” “No name change will be permitted after the horse has started its first race or used for breeding (mating) purposes. However, in the event that the name must be changed after the horse has started its first race, both the old and new names must be used until The horse races three times after the name change.”
Royal Trump nominated on January 16, one week after McCann requested, and then again on March 21 and on May 9 – all under his original name.
After the last start, McCann got curious that the name had not changed and sent another email to The Jockey Club. This time, he said, he received a response from the Jockey Club saying the change had been approved.
The Peaceful Transportation will run under its new name for the first time Saturday at Los Alamitos in Cypress, California, and hold a $40,000 claim ticket in an optional custom race/claim event.
This, by the way, was not the first royal trump in American horse racing. A Nebraska Thoroughbred with that name, born in 1993, has been a seven-time winner of 57 starts over six racing seasons.
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