Do We Cheat Them?

A trotter takes a warmup run.

Sometimes, of course, we let our animals to the talking for us, rather than for themselves. Deweycheatumnhowe is a splendid example of this.

Do We Cheat Them And How — Deweycheatumnhowe (Dewey for short) was 2008’s Three-Year-Old Male Champion Trotter in American harness racing. You can go anyhwere with a horse’s name, as long as you remain within the many rules governing the naming of race horses.

Dewey’s name is sneaky clever with a purpose. It was assigned to point out the butt of a Johnny Carson gag that concerned a crooked law firm! Deweycheatumnhowe is a champion who carried his racing name with dignity, wiping out his competition everywhere for two seasons before his retirement to stud to produce new little Cheatums to carry on his owner’s philosophy of bringing about certain public awareness.

I have a question. Could the response to the Johnny Carson gag have been just as strong if Dewey’s owners had opted for something on the less slippery side? Say, like, Rwehonstuafaltubet — Are We Honest To A Fault You Bet? Perhaps Aryhonstunoit — Are We Honest You Know It? The nicknames would still be appealing — Faulty and Ary — and the message would still be strong, but it would highlight the opposite side of the coin, not so much advertising the cheating, but instead boosting the idea of honesty.

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