Horse Racing / Bill Christine : Youngster’s Name a Sound of Past

Along the 2-year-old trail:

The Jockey Club in New York, which approves the names of all thoroughbreds in the United States, wasn’t paying close attention when it approved the name of Temperate Sil, the roan colt who will be favored in next Wednesday’s Del Mar Futurity.

At first glance, there’s nothing wrong with Temperate Sil’s name. It’s not off-color or suggestive, it isn’t the name of a well-known person who would need to give his permission, it’s not the name of a famous previous horse and it doesn’t contain more than 18 characters. These are some of the requirements the Jockey Club considers before approving a name.

The trouble with Temperate Sil’s name is in the pronunciation. Say it quickly and the name sounds the same as Temperence Hill, who happens to be Temperate Sil’s sire. Temperence Hill, which is the misspelled name for a rural area in Arkansas, won the Belmont Stakes at 53-1 in 1980.


Writing Temperate Sil’s name causes no confusion with the sire. But if Temperate Sil continues to develop and becomes a contender for next year’s Kentucky Derby, any broadcaster who mentions his name will have to qualify it with: " . . . Not to be confused with his sire, Temperence Hill, whose name has a different spelling . . . “

Along with the confusing pronunciation of Temperate Sil’s name, the colt’s stable name--Frankfurt Stable--is misspelled. When Lew Figone, the owner of a San Francisco Bay Area garbage-collecting business, got into the sport several years ago, he wanted his horses to run under a name that had a racing connotation. So Figone thought he was naming his stable after Frankfort, the town in the heart of the Kentucky bluegrass country. Instead he has the city in West Germany.

Of course, Charlie Whittingham, who trains Temperate Sil, doesn’t care how the horse’s name is pronounced, or how the stable spells its name, just as long as the colt runs fast.

“In his last race (the Balboa Stakes at Del Mar last week), he had all kinds of problems and he still won easy (by 2 lengths),” Whittingham said. “He’s a strong horse with a lot of potential.”

When Mel Stute replaced Laz Barrera this spring as the trainer for Dolly Green, the Beverly Hills socialite’s horses were scattered around several training centers, and not many were in a condition to run.

Stute, who was at Garden State Park preparing Snow Chief for his win in the Jersey Derby, liked a filly named Brave Raj and bought her for $300,000 on behalf of Green.

Already, Brave Raj is on her way toward earning back the purchase price. Not nominated to last Sunday’s Del Mar Debutante, she started after a $10,000 supplementary fee was paid and won the $197,575 race by 3 1/2 lengths.

Monday, Stute supplemented another 2-year-old, the colt Prince Sassafras, to run in the $470,700 Arlington-Washington Futurity at Arlington Park. Prince Sassafras didn’t win, but at least he ran fourth and earned $32,949, which just about covered expenses after his shipping fee is figured in.


Brave Raj was the first stakes winner for Corey Black, the 17-year-old rider who began the year with the goal of winning the Eclipse Award as the outstanding apprentice.

Black’s top rival for the Eclipse, which is determined by a vote of turf writers and racing secretaries at most of the major tracks, is Allen Stacy, who is based in Maryland but was riding at Delaware Park until Pimlico reopened this week. Stacy, 21, whose apprenticeship ends on Nov. 1, led Black by about 100 wins based on Daily Racing Form statistics through the middle of August, but Black, whose apprenticeship ends late this month, has an edge of about $600,000 in purses.

Racing Notes The last seven days of the Del Mar season include a stakes race every afternoon. Highlighting the windup are the $125,000 Ramona Handicap for fillies and mares on grass Sunday and next Wednesday’s closing-day, $150,000 Del Mar Futurity. . . . A week from today, the Los Angeles County Fair at Pomona’s Fairplex Park begins an 18-day season that ends on Sept. 28. . . . Tasso, last year’s champion 2-year-old colt, will make his first appearance since late May on Friday when he runs in the El Cajon Stakes for 3-year-olds at Del Mar. Tasso was scratched from a race earlier in the Del Mar season. . . . Next for Estrapade, the winner of the Budweiser-Arlington Million, is the Yellow Ribbon Stakes, a race she won last year, on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. Trainer Charlie Whittingham doesn’t believe there’s a Breeders’ Cup race that fits Estrapade. Of the seven Breeders’ Cup races, only two are on the turf, one at a mile and the other at 1 1/2 miles, in which Estrapade would have to face males again, and probably a better group than what ran against her in the Million. The purse for the Yellow Ribbon, which is 1 miles, the same distance as the Million, is $400,000 and Estrapade’s owner, Allen Paulson, wouldn’t have to pay a $240,000 supplementary fee to run, which would be the case if his mare started in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Stakes.