Gambling is largely about luck, and betting on horses is no different. Sure, you could put your money on Kentucky Derby favorite Classic Empire on Saturday. But what fun is that? The "most exciting two minutes in sports" aren't called that for nothing. Dedicated race-goers might spend hours laboriously researching the ponies. But everyone else knows the most fun way to bet on horse races is by picking the ones with the best names. And as we did last year, we're here to help. Here are The Week's Kentucky Derby odds, determined solely based on the quality of each horse's name.

J Boys Echo

Odds based on name alone: 100/1

Actual odds: 33/1

Analysis: J Boys Echo's lineage should not have left him with such a disappointing name. With parents Letgomyecho (an incredible name you should really take a second to appreciate) and Mineshaft (also excellent), J Boys Echo breaks from his legacy to sound more like a boy band you loved in high school than a winning racehorse. It should be known by now, though, that J Boys Echo's owners are not very good at naming horses; the Albaugh family is also responsible for Brody's Cause, one of last year's more disastrous names. Dennis Albaugh's son-in-law, Jason Loutsch, wanted to riff of his own nickname by calling the colt "J Boy," but the name was already taken. The Jockey Club, which requires that every horse have a unique name, also wouldn't let the variation "Jayboy" fly. So with the addition of 'Echo' from his mom, J Boys Echo became the Frankenstein's monster of this year's racehorse names.


Odds based on name alone: 75/1

Actual odds: 28/1

Analysis: Tapwrit is a really, really expensive horse — as a yearling, he sold for $1.2 million. His name, though, is less than golden. Tapwrit is named after his dad, Tapit (whose own name is a disturbing portmanteau of parents Pulpit and Tap Your Heel) and his mom, Appealing Zophie, because "in court cases, a successful appeal is known as a writ," Thoroughbred Racing writes. Thus, the exceedingly unfortunate Tapwrit.


Odds based on name alone: 50/1

Actual odds: 25/1

Analysis: "Irap" sounds more like someone tripping over their own tongue than an intentional syllabic combination someone would want to make with their mouth. Actually, it's not really a name at all but an acronym for a treatment used to address joint disease in horses called "Interluekin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein therapy." America's Best Racing reports that a driver transporting Irap to owner Paul Reddam's farm saw "IRAP" printed on the horse's papers and used the word to identify the colt. Reddam found it funny and said: "Why don't we just name him Irap?" One reason: It's not a good name.


Odds based on name alone: 50/1

Actual odds: 16/1

Analysis: Because of the requirement of one-of-a-kind names for racehorses, "place names are pretty easy to use" The Hutchinson News writes. Or, as McCraken's owner Janis Whitham points out: "You have to name them something." "Girvin" is the hometown of the colt's owner, Brad Grady, and as a result it is now the name of a horse competing in the sport of kings. Unfortunately, a name like Girvin doesn't seem destined for any throne.

Royal Mo

Odds based on name alone: 45/1

Actual odds: 33/1

Analysis: Royal Mo is the offspring of Uncle Mo and Royal Irish Lass, so his name isn't exactly a work of creative genius. While "Royal" is a promising start, almost anything else could have followed and been better than the sluggish-sounding "Mo." No surprise then that he has turned out to be "a very big, laidback horse," according to farm manager Chris Alexander. "He'd just stand around, go to sleep."

Lookin At Lee

Odds based on name alone: 40/1

Actual odds: 28/1

Analysis: Descending from a line with fantastic names like Demons Begone, Sweet Briar Too, and Danzig, you would have thought Lookin At Lee would have fared better in the name's department. Alas, the name is modeled after Lookin's father, Lookin At Lucky. It is unclear who the Lee is that we are supposed to be looking at.

Always Dreaming

Odds based on name alone: 35/1

Actual odds: 4/1

Analysis: Always Dreaming comes from a bloodline cursed by bad names. (Don't believe me? He has a half-sister named "Hot Dixie Chick.") You have to wonder about naming a horse "Always Dreaming," though — it's kind of like naming it "Always A Bridesmaid" in the sense that it eternally dooms the colt to never actually reach that dream.

Thunder Snow

Odds based on name alone: 30/1

Actual odds: 16/1

Analysis: Thunder Snow sounds like the name of a My Little Pony character or maybe a hero in a bad fantasy novel. Mixing two cool nouns doth not a good name make, racehorse owners! When written as one word, "thundersnow" is a rare meteorological event that occurs when a thunderstorm sprinkles snow rather than rain. You can't fault the owners here for trying, though, as weather names are never a bad bet — Typhoon II won the Derby in 1897, Thunder Gulch in 1995, and Sunny's Halo in 1983 — but "Thunder Snow" simply isn't trying hard enough. Where are the racehorses named Cumulonimbus Snow or Albedo? Start there.


Odds based on name alone: 25/1

Actual odds: 50/1

Analysis: Because of those pesky Jockey Club rules preventing any two horses from having the same name, we get some odd spellings (remember Destin from last year?). Untrapped, in that sense, sounds like the plan B for someone who wanted to call their horse Unbridled. The Kentucky Derby's Tales from the Crib writes that the name is a "clever" play on the colt's parents' names, Exit Three and Trappe Shot. If you "exit" a "trap," then apparently you are "untrapped?" Someone is trying too hard to make this work.


Odds based on name alone: 25/1

Actual odds: 16/1

Analysis: A&M records co-founder Jerry Moss fell in love with the work of the British sculptor Sir Antony Gormley during his trips to Europe, but despite being able to fork over thousands for a thoroughbred, Moss was never successful in getting his hands on a Gormley piece. The next best thing? Getting a Gormley in the form of a racehorse. "I had to name about four or five yearlings at that time and I sort of slipped in this name," Moss said. Cool story — but the name itself is less romantic.


Odds based on name alone: 20/1

Actual odds: 12/1

Analysis: Named after a small town in Spain, Gunnevera is trained by Venezuelan legend Antonio Sano, who was kidnapped twice by the nation's "horse racing mafia." In the first kidnapping, Sano was kept for four hours before the ransom was paid, but when he was later dragged into an SUV on the morning of July 24, 2008, the ensuing ordeal would last 36 days and he nearly died. At home, his family scrambled to come up with the money to pay off the mafia and his 3-year-old daughter was so frightened that she stopped talking entirely. After being freed, Sano realized he could not stay in the country any longer. "In Venezuela, my barn was 165 horses," Sano said. "When I arrive in United States and start training, no horses — zero." While an English-speaker hears Gunnevera's name and thinks of gunning out of the gate, Sano sees a champion in the colt. "My horse is an extraordinary horse, the most intelligent I have trained in my entire life," Sano said. "He has a lot of heart."

State of Honor

Odds based on name alone: 15/1

Actual odds: 40/1

Analysis: Like many racehorses, State of Honor gets his name from his pedigree, sired by To Honor and Serve (a good name itself) with State Cup as the dam. The result is a perfectly suitable name, but also an entirely forgettable one. State of what?


Odds based on name alone: 15/1

Actual odds: 40/1

Analysis: The beautifully named Sonneteer instantly brings to mind the elegance of the preindustrial English countryside, or perhaps Shakespearian lines composed by moonlight to the thoughtful strums of a lute. (That happens to be the literal name of Sonneteer's sire: "Midnight Lute"). However, there is something a little too refined and classical about a horse named Sonneteer competing in an aggressive, mad dash like the Derby. He will surely be blitzed by the likes of Irish War Cry or McCraken.


Odds based on name alone: 10/1

Actual odds: 22/1

Analysis: Hence is a name loaded with the anticipation of what comes next, a tightly coiled spring waiting to be released. Hence ... what? "Hence rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary"? "Hence the incomparably indivisible union that exists between human beings"? "Hence the apparent enormities of the present"? "Fairies, skip hence"? Unfortunately, reality is a little more prosaic. “Hence was always a good-looking horse," said farm manager Eddie Kane. "Hence he should be fast." Oh.


Odds based on name alone: 8/1

Actual odds: 7/1

Analysis: McCraken's owner, Whitham Thoroughbreds, has several horses named after towns in Kansas, including Fort Larned and McPherson. McCraken is no different, although you'd be excused for believing so — his name drops the third 'c' from the spelling of his namesake: McCracken, Kansas. While a Fort Larned or McPherson might not rank so highly due to their relatively dull Midwestern rings, McCraken is a horse that, upon shooting of the gate, makes you want to shout: "RELEASE THE MCCRAKEN!" With a name like that, how could he not run fast?

Classic Empire

Odds based on name alone: 8/1

Actual odds: 4/1

Analysis: Classic Empire is a winner's name for a winner's horse: This impressive colt is an agreed-upon favorite, despite nursing several recent injuries, and he shares a bloodline with another brilliantly named champion: American Pharoah. Both horses have the same sire, Pioneer of the Nile, although the ancient Egyptian reference is translated to the less specific but similarly powerful "Empire" in the younger colt's name. Additionally, Classic Empire's dam is Sambuca Classica, who hails from the same so-called "Storm Cat" line as the 2015 Triple Crown winner. "[Classic Empire] reminds me of American Pharoah," admitted assistant trainer Norman Casse said. "Nothing rattles him." You heard the man; get the crown ready.

Irish War Cry

Odds based on name alone: 7/1

Actual odds: 13/2

Analysis: War-related names typically serve racehorses well (more on that later). As a result, Irish War Cry is a bundle of promise: "War Cry" brings to mind a spontaneous, terrifying outburst and while "Irish" is a nod to the colt's maternal line, it also evokes the fighting Irish. This is a horse that won't yield to anyone. That being said, it might take the luck of the Irish to beat the curse of Irish War Cry's post position; no horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby from the No. 17 post, which is where Irish War Cry will run. "Someone's going to win from the 17 hole one day," trainer Graham Motion said optimistically. And it's true: If it would be any horse, it'd be a horse named Irish War Cry.

Fast and Accurate

Odds based on name alone: 5/1

Actual odds: 66/1

Analysis: Fast and Accurate is a colt who you hope will live up to his name. Points for the promise, but you always want to be wary of a name that is tempting fate — or trying to entice wagers.

Practical Joke

Odds based on name alone: 5/1

Actual odds: 16/1

Analysis: This bay colt was always destined to be the butt of the joke, having been sired by Into Mischief with Halo Humor for a dam. But with a great name like Practical Joke, nobody will be laughing when he places in the Derby. Although the name makes you think he's a trickster, trainer Chad Brown says Practical is "a big, strong, quiet gentleman of a horse who takes everything in. He's very intelligent, nothing rattles this horse." Practical Joke is all about making you look foolish for your assumptions.


Odds based on name alone: 5/1

Actual odds: 40/1

Analysis: Patch literally does not have one of his eyes, making him among the more aptly named thoroughbreds in the Run for the Roses — although he was actually already named Patch before he lost the peeper due to a mysterious inflammation last year. If Patch had both eyes, his name would have actually been pretty boring; it apparently is a play on his sire, Union Rags. But however anachronistic it might be, Patch earns a swashbuckling second-place finish in this year's name race due to the adorable, if initially unintentional, pirate imagery. Making Patch's run all the more intriguing, by the luck of the draw he is posted on the outside rim of the race, so all the other horses will be running on his side with the missing eye, out of sight. "I guess he'll get to see the crowd, anyway," said his trainer.

Battle of Midway

Odds based on name alone: 3/1

Actual odds: 28/1

Analysis: Battle of Midway was named by "ardent supporter of our veterans" Rick Porter, who had success with a 2013 Kentucky Derby contender named Normandy Invasion. Many militarily named horses have had luck in the Derby before, including winners War Emblem in 2002 and War Admiral in 1937 (who also took the Triple Crown). As a name, Battle of Midway rolls off the tongue and assures decisive victory, but even more than that, it echoes what makes the Kentucky Derby great: the glory, the history, the American tradition. This is what it's all about. He's a lock to win.