Where did the baby name Tuesdee come from in 1969?

Tuesdee Testa

American Pharoah winning the Triple Crown earlier this month reminded me of a baby name that was popularized by a horse race nearly 50 years ago.

The name Tuesdee debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1969:

  • 1971: unlisted
  • 1970: unlisted
  • 1969: 10 baby girls named Tuesdee [debut]
  • 1968: unlisted
  • 1967: unlisted

Where did it come from specifically?

A female jockey named Tuesdee Testa.

She became the first female jockey to win at a major American Thoroughbred track (Santa Anita Park) on March 1st of that year. She was 27 years old at the time.

Tuesdee was her legal name, but it wasn’t her birth name. She was born a Helen. But she preferred “Tuesdee” — a nickname bestowed by her grandmother — and eventually had it changed.

In April of 1969, Tuesdee Testa took part in the all-female “Lady Godiva Stakes.” I’m not sure how long she continued to race professionally, but fellow female jockey Diane Crump has since noted that Testa and others left the sport because of sexism: “They couldn’t take the pressure from the fans.”

(The name Tuesday was already being given to dozens of babies per year by the late ’60s, thanks to actress Tuesday Weld.)


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