A Racing Horse Named Potoooooooo

Aug 15, 2020 0 comments

There was once a great racehorse in 18th-century Britain named Potoooooooo, who was famed for his endurance and speed. He won over 30 races defeating some of the best racehorses of the time, and many of his victories were at distances over four miles—more than twice the distance of a typical race. Potoooooooo also had significant influence on the thoroughbred breed, having been sired by a horse named Eclipse, who was a great racehorse himself. Standing 163 cm tall, the bright chestnut Eclipse had remained an undefeated champion throughout his 18-race career. Potoooooooo ensured the continuation of the Eclipse lineage down to the present day. Potoooooooo himself sired as many as 165 winners.

The question that’s likely on your mind is: why was the horse named Potoooooooo? There is an amusing story behind it.


Potoooooooo’s original name was “Potatoes”. The story goes that Potoooooooo’s owner, Willoughby Bertie, 4th Earl of Abingdon, asked the stable boy to paint the horse’s name on his feed bin. The poor boy, barely able to read and probably a little thick in the head, was unsure how to spell ‘Potatoes’. He wrote ‘Pot’ and then followed it with eight consecutive o’s. When the Earl found out, he was so amused that he decided to keep the name. The horse ran under the name ‘Potoooooooo’ for a few times before it was shortened to ‘Pot8os.’

Potoooooooo raced for seven years from 1776 to 1783, acquiring 34 wins from an estimated 40 races. He raced mostly in 4 mile races on Newmarket's Beacon course. In 1778 at age five, Potoooooooo was sold to Richard Grosvenor, 1st Earl Grosvenor and subsequently raced under Grosvenor's yellow and black silks.

Potoooooooo retired in 1784, and was transferred to Oxcroft Farm near Balsham, Cambridgeshire, for the sole purpose of impregnating mares so as to pass his good genes. He sired hundreds of offspring, at least 165 of which went on to become race winners. His best son was a horse named Waxy, who won 9 (10 according to a different source) out of 15 races he took part. Incidentally, Waxy’s name was derived from a variety of potato.

Potoooooooo died in November 1800 at the age of 27 and was buried at Hare Park. Some 200 years later, his skeleton was uncovered when a tree blew over. The skeleton is now on display at the Kings Yard Galleries of the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket.

# Kristen Kovatch, Potoooooooo: The Legitimate Story of a Racehorse, https://www.horsenation.com/2014/11/18/potoooooooo-the-unbelievably-legitimate-story-of-a-racehorse/
# https://www.allbreedpedigree.com/pot8os

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