Rick Porter has heard all the pronunciations, too.
"Harv de Grace."
"Havur duh Grass."
"Hahvur deh Graw."
But tonight, when the horse named Havre de Grace competes in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic at Churchill Downs, Porter won't be critical. He'll just be listening for anything that resembles his thoroughbred's name.
"I told these announcers they can say it anyway they want to as long as they're saying it at the end of the race," said Porter, a Delaware-based horse owner who runs 30-40 horses under the stable name "Fox Hill Farm."
The Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic features the three-year-old philly with the neat name, which will go off at 4-1 odds. The purse for the 1-1/8 mile race is set at $2 million.
Havre de Grace makes its national appearance at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
At 4-1 odds, Havre de Grace—posted on the outside of the 11-horse race—is the No. 3 favorite behind Blind Luck (9-5 in the 10th post) and Life at Ten (7-2 on the rail).
Havre de Grace will be ridden by the award-winning Jeremy Rose, an Elkton resident who rode Afleet Alex to a Preakness victory in 2005.
"I hope that she lives up to what we're hoping to and can win the race. She's a great horse," Porter said. "She's been having a rivalry with that Blind Luck. She beat her last time. It's a tough race, but she's got a good shot if she runs her race today."
Tony Dutrow, a Baltimore-based trainer who has visited the City of Havre de Grace before, trains Havre de Grace.
"She's going into this race very good. Maybe the best she's ever gone into any race," Dutrow said. "[She's up against] the best horses in the world, so [there is] a lot on the line today."
Dutrow said Havre de Grace has never run at Churchill Downs before, but he's confident heading into the race.
"She's handled every surface she's been on very well," Dutrow said. "We're hoping Churchill Downs is no exception. Right now, it hasn't been proved."
But back to the name.
Porter is partial to the French pronunciation, which spurned the name of the old Havre de Grace thoroughbred track "The Graw."
The horse was named after Havre de Grace due to its ties to horse racing history, namely as the home to The Graw, the one-mile track located on what is now the National Guard. The Graw hosted legendary thoroughbreds like Man o' War, War Admiral, and Seabiscuit.
"I named it after the town and the race track. I know they had a first-class race track, and I've been through Havre de Grace many times," Porter said. "I thought it was a cool name, and it had a nice catchy tune to it."
In hindsight, Porter realizes he might have brought a fan base along with the horse with the simple process of naming her after the city.
"I hope that all the fans in Havre de Grace are watching," Porter said. "And root her home and see her in the winners circle."