This years Kentucky Derby was a clear example of the triumph and tragedy of the sport of horse racing. Big Brown thundered to an impressive and overwhelming win, while the only horse to put up any challenge was second place filly, Eight Belles. However, Eight Belles race day would end in tragedy. As fate would have it, we posted about this years Kentucky Derby and honored Barbaro who captured our hearts in 2006 with his tremendous struggle to overcome his injuries only to be euthenized in 2007.
Eight Belles crossed the finish line Saturday in full gallop in second place, then the unthinkable happened. As camera came off of the winner, Big Brown, the filly was down on the track. Any one who watches races or has been around horses knew this was not a good thing. Sadly, Eight Belles had to be humanely euthenized on the track as she had broken both front ankles while galloping out a quarter of a mile past the wire. The race obviously marred by this tragic event. However, questions remain as to what happened that caused such a bizarre injury.
PETA is calling for the suspension of Eight Belles’ jockey, Gabriel Saez, while the investigation goes on as to what happened to Eight Belles.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is seeking the suspension of Eight Belles’ jockey after the filly had to be euthanized following her second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Gabriel Saez was riding Eight Belles when she broke both front ankles while galloping out a quarter of a mile past the wire. She was euthanized on the track.
PETA faxed a letter Sunday to Kentucky’s racing authority claiming the filly was “doubtlessly injured before the finish” and asked that Saez be suspended while Eight Belles’ death is investigated.
In the age of video we live in, it’s hard to believe that not every second that Eight Belles spent on the track was not taped. One thing is for certain, in horse racing the race is not over until the horse returns to the paddock. Just because a horse crosses the finish line does not mean the race is over as seen by the tragic events of Eight Belles. So many questions need to be answered. My first thought was that she had a heart attack and collapsed. How does a horse run so strong and then have both front ankles shatter? Was it driver error? Did the jockey pull up too quickly on the reins after the race? Or did she just catch a hoof on the track? Many of these questions will be answered in the autopsy and post investigation.
I would like to add a special thank you to NBC Sports for having the heart and brains not to air to agony that Eight Belles went through. In today’s sick show all media, where the more gruesome the act, the better the ratings … NBC made a conscious decision not to … THANK YOU!
Rest in Peace Eight Belles. Run fast and unbridled in that great green pasture in the sky.