Houston Texans owner once named a racehorse after Tony Wyllie

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

A friend was browsing Tony Wyllie’s Wikipedia page and came across an interesting, new-to-me nugget. Houston Texans owner Bob McNair once named a racehorse after Wyllie when the Redskins’ PR man was with Houston. From a 2006 item in the Houston Chronicle:

Sitting next to Major is Tony Wyllie, the Texans’ vice president of communications. Usually, I don’t mention Tony in blogs other than when he makes an announcement about some innane statistic to the media during home games. This time, though, I have to mention this: Bob McNair owns a horse that his wife, Janice, named after Tony. I’m almost embarrassed to say the horse’s name, but I will: Tony Terrific.

Tony Terrific is a well-bred, Stonerside 2-year-old Colt that won its first race on Friday at Keeneland. He paid $21.80 for the win. The odds against Double T were 11 to 1. Naturally, Wyllie is very excited. He thinks it’s such a big deal that the McNairs named a horse after him. He was deflated when I pointed out that they already had named one after McNair and me — Bob and John.

By the way, Wyllie is running around the pressbox telling all of us to bet on Tony Terrific at the Kentucky Derby. John Lopez just said that if his horse wins the derby that Wyllie will be “Tony Insufferable.” Wish I had thought of that line.

According to Horse Racing Nation, Tony Terrific is a descendant of Secretariat, so the idea of him being a Derby horse wasn’t far-fetched at the time. Unfortunately, Tony Terrific didn’t run in the 2007 Derby, the only year he would have been eligible.

Not long after that, the horse’s existence took a dark turn. In 2010, the same year that Wyllie joined the Redskins, Tony Terrific was placed in the care of an Indiana based trainer who was shortly thereafter suspended for abusing and neglecting the horse. The horse, now 10-years-old, is retired.

Here’s video of one of Tony Terrific’s place finishes at Arlington. Worth it to hear “So Busted tackled by Tony Terrific on the outside.” (Yes, slow news day.)



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Dan Steinberg · February 5, 2014