August 7, 2007
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that a horse cannot be called "Sally Hemmings."
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled that The Jockey Club can legally bar horse owner Garrett Redmond of Paris, Kentucky, from naming his 4-year-old horse after Thomas Jefferson's most famous slave, who was also reputed to be his lover.
Judge Alice Batchelder wrote for the three judge panel saying that Redmond has other options that may be approved by the Jockey Club, a private organization designated by Kentucky to track and approve names of race horses.
Redmond sued the racing authority and The Jockey Club in 2005 after the club denied his request to name the horse for Hemmings. He argued that the denial deprived him of his constitutional rights.
A horse in Kentucky cannot race unless it has an approved name. The horse is now known as "Awaiting Justice."