Champion Race Horse Named After a Swimmer Wins Big in Kentucky

If you are following this weekend’s horse racing at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, building up to Saturday’s premier Kentucky Derby race, you have surely heard the name “Thorpedo Anna”.

The horse upset the Kentucky Oaks field on Friday night in muddy conditions, winning by four lengths over favorite Just F Y I in spite of 4:1 odds.

The Kentucky Oaks race is a part of the Kentucky Derby weekend, but a race specifically for fillies, specifically 3-year-old female horses. That win earned Thorpedo Anna’s owners a cool $1.5 million.

So what’s the connection to swimming? The horse is co-owned by Mark Edwards, whose granddaughter Anna Thorp is a swimmer on the Lakeside Swim Team in Kentucky. Edwards named the horse after his granddaughter, who is nicknamed “Thorpedo Anna,” itself a borrowing of the original nickname of famous Australian swimmer Ian “Thorpedo” Thorpe.

The nickname was saved for a perfect moment when Edwards’ partner bought a horse that was born to the stallion Fast Anna.

Thorpedo Anna, the swimmer, is a sophomore at Sacred Heart Academy, which earlier this year won its 12th-straight Kentucky High School State Championship meet. The program is one of the legendary ones in high school swimming nationally, counting among its alumni Olympians like Brooke Forde and Mary T. Meagher.

Thorpe herself qualified for the Kentucky High School State Championship meet as a sophomore in February, ultimately losing a swim-off in the 100 fly to finish 17th overall. In 2019, she was a Kentucky LSC State Champion in the 50 free (28.19) and 100 free (1:02.47) in the 11-12 age group.

Maybe it was appropriate that on a wet day in Kentucky, the swimmer that pulled through was one named after a swimmer.

Watch the Race Here:

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23 days ago

Ahhh… the wondrous mysterious ways of (cross-sports) journalism on slow news day.
Love it.

Scott Bonney
Reply to  swifter
21 days ago

Aqua Obscura

Andrew Lardieri
23 days ago

My bet all the way! Big $$$

24 days ago

Ian Thorpe 3:40.08

24 days ago

I was hoping it would be Sun Yang’s Hammer.

24 days ago

y’all should check out FISH LC Derby. All swimmers have horse names!

24 days ago

Is he going to WVU?

Reply to  Jeah
23 days ago

Outstanding bit

24 days ago

Ha! I picked that horse for the name. Boxed it with the wrong horse though 🙁

Andrew Lardieri
Reply to  Gldnbehr
23 days ago

You won big lol

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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