News Releases

Tuesday, October 23, 2001Contact: Bob Curran Jr. (212) 521-5326
Thoroughbred Owners in Unique Display of Patriotism

Individual expressions of patriotism in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11 have ranged from the selfless donation of money in support of ongoing relief efforts to the proud display of the American flag. Thoroughbred owners are expressing their patriotism in their own unique way – by naming their young racing prospects in tribute to the victims.

Among the name choices recently submitted to, and accepted by, The Jockey Club, the North American Thoroughbred breed registry, are: America the Brave, United Spirit, Freedom Prevails, Freedom Reigns, America United, Bless Our Nation, Patriot’s Pride, Some Gave All, Wave the Flag, Unfurl the Flag, Spirit of U S A, Operation Justice, Enduring Freedom, Infinite Justice and We Will Prevail.

“The naming of Thoroughbreds is a very personal and important activity for owners so it comes as no surprise that a number of them would want to pay homage to the countless thousands of innocent victims of the senseless attacks,” said The Jockey Club’s executive vice president and executive director Gary Carpenter. “Such heartening gestures are subtle but meaningful tokens of unity.”

The Jockey Club approves approximately 36,000 Thoroughbred names each year. The majority of the patriotically named Thoroughbreds are yearlings, meaning they will be eligible to race beginning next year as two-year-olds (all Thoroughbreds celebrate their “birthday” on January 1).

Three of those yearlings – America the Brave, Freedom Prevails and We Will Prevail -- are owned by David and Jill Heerensperger of Bellevue, Washington. Jill Heerensperger said the names are a lasting tribute to all those affected by the tragic events of September 11.

“On Tuesday, the day of the attacks, we were watching the tragedy unfold on television along with the rest of America and began jotting down potential names that conjured up the American spirit,” she said. “We really wanted a good name for the Quiet American colt we had bought the day before and America the Brave just captured our pride in being American.”

Purchased for $1.4 million at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale on September 10, America the Brave is a half-brother to Guided Tour who runs in the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Classic this Saturday, October 27, at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY.

Marty and Pam Wygod of Rancho Santa Fe, California, whose six-year-old mare Tranquility Lake is expected to start in Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff, have named two of their yearlings – Patriot’s Pride and Unfurl the Flag – in a similar manner.

“I feel it is one small way of honoring the heroes and victims of September 11,” said Pam Wygod. “And perhaps these names will be a constant reminder to us of the pride and unity that exists in our country today.”

America the Brave, Freedom Prevails and We Will Prevail are to be sent to Southern California-based trainer David Hofmans when they begin preparing for their racing careers next year. Patriot’s Pride and Unfurl the Flag are also expected to begin their racing careers in Southern California.