Day At The Track

Naming a horse is a laughing matter

04:24 AM 08 Feb 2020 NZDT
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Time Out I'm Tired, harness racing
Time Out I'm Tired
Fred Brown photo

Janine McIlvain laughs when discussing the names of her family's harness racing horses. That's exactly what Janine's daughter Leigh intended.

Leigh was a teenager when she began naming the family's horses some number of years ago. It was her love of horses as a young girl that had helped prompt Janine's father, Bill Mears, and Janine's husband, Bob, to invest in their own passion and start racing and breeding Standardbreds.

One of their homebreds, an 8-year-old pacing stallion, races Saturday in the first round of a Leap Year Series division at The Meadowlands. His name belies the fact he's hit the board in more than half of his 139 career starts and earned $240,862.

He is Time Out I'm Tired.

"She's got a little quirky sense of humor," Janine said about Leigh. "When she was a little girl, all she wanted to do was horses. Of course, my husband and father were thrilled. They just went headlong into these horses. She loved it. She grew up around horses, helped with the horses, jogged horses.

"That's where the whole thing began, with a little girl about 4 years old wanting horses. That little 4-year-old grew up and decided to be funny with naming all of them. She is quite a character."

Time Out I'm Tired is a son of Artiscape out of Badlands Laura. The mare, named by Janine's father after the oldest of the McIlvain's two girls, is out of Hollys Premium. Janine's father and husband bought Hollys Premium for $250 a little more than 20 years ago and all their homebreds are out of her or her daughters.

Around the McIlvain house, Time Out I'm Tired is known as Timmy. So how did his name come about?

"When Timmy was born, we had not had a lot of what my father would call world-beaters," Janine said. "They would get so far and that would be it. So, Leigh said maybe these horses just need a little timeout during the race. So, she named the horse Time Out I'm Tired.

"We kind of laugh every time the announcer says the name because you would think he'd be at the rear of the pack. But he's doing OK. He's got a lot of heart. He doesn't like to lose. He likes to chase them at the end. Sometimes he's able to win, other times he's just a little bit short and we wish we had a couple more yards on that track."

Leigh had already showed her budding penchant for offbeat names before Time Out I'm Tired was born. She named Timmy's older sister Some Brown Horse just so she could hear track announcers say, "Here comes Some Brown Horse." Another family favorite is Justa Ordinary Guy, who is now 17 and living the life of Riley on the McIlvains' property.

Some of the names are related to family, such as Mean Janine.

"She thought that was funny," Janine said.

Janine, though, did laugh at the name, maybe because some years later there was a Jolly Janine.

Hurricane Joyce was named as a reference to the temper possessed by Janine's mom. Pretty Patty Pat was named after Bob's mom, who will turn 88 on St. Patrick's Day.

"There is a meaning behind all the horses' names," Janine said. "All from a quirky little girl who thinks it's funny to name these horses these names."

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA



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