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Friday, May 13, 2005Contact: Shannon Luce (859) 224-2716
Named for Nothing

The series finale of “Seinfeld,” the renowned show about nothing, aired on May 14, 1998. Although the show has been out of the prime time lineup for seven years, its popularity lives on in syndication and also in the Thoroughbred industry.

According to The Jockey Club, North America’s Thoroughbred breed registry, on May 9 — five days before the anniversary of the final episode — a Thoroughbred owner claimed the name Summer of George.

“My wife, Amy, and I have watched Seinfeld for the last two or three years with possible horse names in mind,” said Scot Waterman, DVM, who is the executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. “We didn’t have a horse to name until now.”

The Watermans bought the colt by Put It Back in partnership with Scot’s father, John Waterman, at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training in April. Summer of George is still in Ocala, Fla., but will be shipped to trainer Layne Giliforte’s barn at Woodbine near Toronto later this month.

The inspiration for the name came to the Watermans when they were watching a Seinfeld double-header on TBS.

“TBS has an in-between show promo where they throw up a Seinfeld term with A, B and C answers,” Waterman said. “For the term ‘Summer of George,’ the A answer was ‘Triple Crown Winner.’ We thought that was a neat tie-in to a horse name. Obviously, though, it was the wrong answer.”

“The Summer of George” is actually a Seinfeld episode, which first aired on May 15, 1997. In the episode, George receives a severance package from the Yankees that should last about three months, and he proclaims the next three months “The Summer of George!” He plans to read a book from beginning to end and play frolf (Frisbee golf), neither of which he accomplishes.

The Watermans were lucky to get their first name choice, because Seinfeld horse names have become more popular in the past few years.

“We check the names through The Jockey Club’s Online Names Book,” Waterman said. “A couple of years ago, most of the Seinfeld names were available, but now they all seem to be taken.”

Some of the more recognizable Seinfeld names that have been claimed are Vandalay, Hello Newman, Puffy Shirt, Kramerica, Low Talker, Serenity Now, Hipster Dufus, Yada Yada Yada and Manhands. Waterman’s favorite, It’s Go Time, is from the episodes with Lloyd Bridges as Izzy Mandelbaum, who was Seinfeld’s personal trainer. However, It’s Go Time was claimed in March 2004 for a Pioneering gelding.

A horse whose name is one of the better-known Seinfeld sayings is also one of the biggest winners with a Seinfeld name. The 1998 gelding Nosupeforyou, by Housebuster out of Super Fortunate, has won $223,414. The “No soup for you” episode aired November 2, 1995.

“Pop culture is the impetus behind many Thoroughbred names,” said Rick Bailey, registrar, The Jockey Club. “It’s interesting to see how creative people can be when naming Thoroughbreds. The Seinfeld-related names are especially entertaining because of the continued widespread popularity of the show.”

Seinfeld was first aired on July 5, 1989, and was ranked in the top three shows in its last five seasons. If the Seinfeld fans in the Thoroughbred industry have anything to do with it, Seinfeld will be on our minds for years to come, at least through the chronicles of Thoroughbred racing.