Becoming immersed in the sport of horse racing, one can learn a lot of irrelevant trivia along the way.
Such as the fact that Pharos was a famous lighthouse in ancient Egypt. That “bird boots” was an entry in the Dr. Seuss dictionary. That the filly, Bird Boots, was a great-great-great-grand daughter of the stallion Pharos.
When I was a kid, there were occasions when horse racing also helped me with my homework. I remember one time when Robin and I were in high school, and her mom had taken us to the track on a Saturday. I distinctly remember a horse named Hinterland on the program; I remember it clearly, because hinterland was one of our vocabulary words in English that week.
Since that beautiful Spring day at Santa Anita, when we watched Hinterland run and lose, Robin and I finished high school, endured college, watched Star Wars seven times, grew up, got jobs, got married, moved around, and to this day, remain the closest of friends.
And after all this time, I can still recall that horse. I googled “Hinterland” just now, to see what became of my old memory. Alas, the Hinterland that raced in California is no more; I would guess that he has galloped off this mortal coil. (There is a modern Hinterland running, and winning, in Australia.) I went to the Jockey Club’s Online Names Book, to see if the name “Hinterland” is available — because the name of a Thoroughbred cannot be used again until five years after the horse has finished racing or breeding.
Given that the average horse’s life expectancy is around 25 years (give or take a half dozen years), as a kid it seemed to me that, with the Jockey Club’s added five years, the name of any given racehorse would remain unavailable for newly named horses for… well, forever.
The name “Hinterland” is available.
I have outlived the name of a racehorse.