What’s in a Name: Mr Moliere

4th-Chantilly, $29,000, Debutantes, 2-6, 3yo, c/g, 8f (AWT), 1:39.82, ft. MR MOLIERE (GB) (g, 3, Kingman {GB}–Armande {Ire} {GSW & G1SP-Fr, $222,116}, by Sea The Stars {Ire}). O-Baron Edouard de Rothschild & Lady O’Reilly; B-SC Ecurie de Meautry & Petra Bloodstock Agency Ltd (GB); T-Andre Fabre; J-M. Guyon.

Horseracing is a game of old. Appropriately, there is so much from the 17th and 18th centuries in the pedigree of Chantilly demolition winner Mr Moliere (GB).

“Monsieur Moliere” for the French race commentator, evidemment.

Moliere was the stage name of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (1622-1673), the French playwright [and actor] dominating the theatre of the times of Louis XIV, who loved and protected him. Armande, the namesake of the dam of the Andre Fabre trainee, was the name of Moliere’s young wife, also a famous practitioner of the stage in her own right. And not for nothing there is a full sister in the pipeline baptized Mlle Moliere, the very stage name of Armande Poquelin [1640-1700] and, supposedly, also a yearling filly by No Nay Never carrying the name of Mme de Pomadour, the famous lover of King Louis XV and royal mistress par excellence. All in the [very historical] family.

2nd-Pau, $19,400, 2-5, 5yo/up, 10f (AWT), 2:05.60, ft. MON OURAGAN (FR) (h, 7, Toronado {Ire}–Lady Of The House {Ire}, by Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}). Lifetime Record: 27-10-5-0, $156,532. O-Laurent Dassault; B-Framont Limited, M Matthew & M Beaumont (FR); T-Jean-Claude Rouget; J-J Eyquem.

The name of multiple French winner Mon Ouragan (Fr) appears to be the result of clever word-play across different languages. But… is it so?

Let’s take a step back. Years ago, when I first realized that there was a Group 1-winning horse called Toronado (High Chaparral–Wana Doo, by Grand Slam), I thought that he had been named after the famous 1960s Oldsmobile model, the first U.S.-produced car with front-wheel drive. I was ill-informed. In fact, when I eventually inquired with one of the professionals connected with the Richard Hannon Sr. trainee, she told me that it was named after the horse of Zorro!

Twice true, confirmed Google: “Tornado (occasionally Toronado) is a horse ridden by the character Zorro in several films and books. Tornado is said to be intelligent and fast. His name is pronounced in the Spanish way, ‘tor-NAH-do’ (except in the 1998 movie The Mask of Zorro)”.

As it happens, tornado is also Spanish for “tornado” and ouragan is French for, “hurricane, tempest, storm.” You do not have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing and understand that the connection is there.

of the story: although there is power in names, names’ power depends heavily on how much or how little we know. Phenomenology (the supposed science of how things may present themselves to people) is not my favorite philosophy, but it does win this round.

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