The Racehorse Snickers Candy Bars Are Named After

Snickers bars are a little like reruns of an old TV show. You know what's coming, and after all these years, it's not exactly buzzworthy. But, what it does provide is reliable comfort. Even if Snickers isn't your favorite candy, you're still happy to have one, at least, that's what a national survey on candy preferences suggests. Per Thrillist, out of all 50 states surveyed, only one, Idaho, placed Snickers at the top. However, when the same survey did a national ranking of America's top ten favorite candies, Snickers placed comfortably in the number eight spot, while many notable classics like KitKat, Butterfinger, Milky Way, and Twix failed to make the list at all. It may not knock people's socks off, but Snickers satisfies.

Snickers are made by Mars, which produces many of the world's most popular confections. The company's candy and snack branch, Mars Wrigley, owns Wrigley, M&M's, Milky Way, Skittles, Starburst, Altoids, and Dove chocolate. Did you know Mars also sells pet food? Iams, Royal Canin, Cesar, Greenies, and Temptations are just some of the brands it owns. Yahoo ranks Mars as the world's eighth-largest food company by revenue, raking in $37 billion in 2020. Considering the dominant role it now plays on the global food scene, it's fascinating to revisit its origins as a true family business. It was founder Frank Mars's son who named Milky Ways. The Snickers name also has family origins, but not what you might expect.

The Mars family's horses

It may seem a bit odd at first that one of the world's largest candy brands is also one of its top pet supply companies. The two business ventures seem wholly unrelated until you learn a little more about the Mars family. Frank Mars and his wife Ethel were accomplished horse breeders. In the early 1930s, they started the aptly-named Milky Way Farm, with over 1,000 acres of pasture for horses as well as cattle and sheep. These horses were no slouches either, in fact, Mars Equestrian notes that one of their Thoroughbreds, named Gallahadion, won the 1940 Kentucky Derby.

Gallahadion's achievement, however, pales in comparison to that of another Mars horse. According to Mars Equestrian, Snickers was the name of a particularly beloved horse in the Mars family. The Equine Chronicle reports that Snickers had a championship legacy, but died mere weeks before the famous chocolate bar debuted. To honor his memory, the name was passed along to the candy, and the rest is history. But one question remains which only Frank and Ethel Mars could have answered: What was the horse named after?