PETA Calls for Eight Belles Jockey, Gabriel Saez, Suspension after Fillies Death at Kentucky Derby


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.

Posted May 5, 2008 by
Bizarre, Deceased, Sports | 33 comments

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  • Preakness Stakes: Black Eye for Horse Racing … Death of Two Race Horses (Homeboykris & Pramedya) … Oh Yeah, Exaggerator Won

  • Comments

    33 Responses to “PETA Calls for Eight Belles Jockey, Gabriel Saez, Suspension after Fillies Death at Kentucky Derby”

    1. Bun on May 5th, 2008 7:12 am

      I am beginning to think that horse racing is a sick sport for the rich. I hope PETA stays on this case.

    2. Jerry from Ohio on May 5th, 2008 7:39 am

      My Father raised and raced standard bred ( sulky, driver, ect ) for many years and so when I was growing up I saw a lot of horses injured and some got better and some did not.
      These animals are athletes and mas such are susceptible to injuries just like human athletes ,look at all the injuries that our professional players receive in the course of a season .
      These animals are for the most part treated as well or better then their human counterparts and they live and die as happy as any one can expect sure there are the case exceptions but those are few and other trainers and veterinarians do a lot of their own policing of the industry .
      PETA people have a very unrealistic view on a variety of animal issues and they are far from experts on the subjects that they speak out on .
      They just seem to want to make a show out of an animals injuries and look to blame some human for the situation . I also am glad that the MSM did not show the whole thing that “eight Belles ” went through and I also applaud the owners for making the correct decision in putting her down in a humane way as son as they got the report from the Vet’s in attendance .
      Play eat and be Happy in your new pasture above Eight Belles you really gave your all to us that Saturday afternoon and you almost did it for the Filly’s but it was just not to be girl,yo gave %100, but now rest in Peace . ((((soft pats on Eight Belles neck and nose and a big crunchy Apple )))
      Jerry from Ohio

    3. JusticeforNatalee on May 5th, 2008 9:33 am

      Agree with you #1.

      And it is sick and sad that the bottom line is money.

      Why can’t people just appreciate horses for their beauty
      and grace in running?

      And no, PETA is not unrealistic. Sometimes over the top but
      committed to promoting ethical treatment of animals.

      Committed to educating people.

      What’s “unrealistic ” is the view of some people think they have absolute rights over animals and that the status quo is acceptable.

    4. brie. on May 5th, 2008 10:14 am

      A dumb jockey….he over ran her…ankles can be repaired…why put her down.. until you try..because she wouldn’t of been able to race anymore… many doctors own race horses…go figure..I am totally opposed to this…the owner never wanted to go the expense and the care it would of taken to help her….this is all about gambling….she maybe could of been saved…how cold-hearted…

    5. JusticeforNatalee on May 5th, 2008 10:15 am

      It is absolutely BARBARIC to sacrifice a beautiful filly just for the sake of gambling!

    6. Miss-Underestimated on May 5th, 2008 11:10 am

      Has anyone else heard that 8 Belles was suffering a leg injury prior to the KD? I am wondering if it was possible that she was given pain medication. So she could not feel the pain from the ankles. If that is the case, that is brutual and would fall under animal abuse.

      The horses are being raced too young now and the lineage is getting mutated.

    7. JusticeforNatalee on May 5th, 2008 11:24 am

      online petition to change rules of horseracing:

    8. bob on May 5th, 2008 3:34 pm

      PETA is an anti-Godly, globalist, anti-American terrorist group. They are closely allied with other treasonous, terrorist groups like Greenpeace and the Earth Liberation Front. PETA cares nothing about animals. It’s just a front. Under the guise of saving whales, horses, baby seals and spotted owls, their real intention is to destroy industry, our pastimes, and the US economy. God gave man sovereignty over animals. Animals have no rights and we can do with them what we please.

    9. riannon on May 5th, 2008 5:31 pm

      Horse racing should be outlawed. There was no reason to put down a horse because of broken ankles. With all the money SHE made THEM, they should have SPENT some to get her surgery and allow her to live out her days on a farm with other horses.

      Animals are beautiful, it’s some people that are barbaric.

      G O P E T A
      SM: more wisdom from the factually challenged. Animals are beautiful, however, Horses are not humans. The cannot recover from 2 broken ankles. One is tough enough.

    10. riannon on May 5th, 2008 6:07 pm

      Then the jockey and owner should be euthanized too because they well know the dangers of racing young horses with soft bones on hard tracks.
      SM: keep it up troll. Add something or move on … Don’t be a horses ass your entire life.

      This is a serious topic and there is no room for your nonsense.

    11. brie. on May 5th, 2008 6:11 pm

      I had to do some research and no Eight Belles could not of been saved, maybe with one broken ankle but not two…at first I thought she could of been saved but obviously not… it would of been way too much pain for her… and they heal better when they can stand…what a shame…we do not need horse racing….speak up for animals…can’t we just enjoy them for what they were meant to be…they are pleasure horse’s that loved to be ridden, but not to a point of force, there are working horse’s that love to do their job…look at the Amish, their means of transportation for years and their animal was always cared for.and never abused…If you like horse’s go see the Budwiser Clydesdale’s, that is a sight to behold, gorgeous or visit the Kentucky Horse Farm, it’s absolutely beautiful…sometimes the horses will come up to fence to greet you and say hello and love to be stroked….

    12. Carrie on May 5th, 2008 6:59 pm

      To #8, Bob, I would agree that PETA has some crazy ideas, goes too far on some issues. I don’t think, however, they are anti-Godly. Their request for changes in the racing world are NOT unreasonable, in fact, just the opposite.

      No more whips, limit the # of races in a certain amount of time, age of horse, ground used for racing. This jockey, first time at Derby, overran this filly.

      I don’t care for much of what PETA stands for; however, I don’t believe in “throwing out the baby with the bath water” these changes are more than reasonable.

    13. Dee on May 5th, 2008 7:58 pm

      check out

      PETA claims to be dedicated to protecting animals and treating them “ethically”—it’s right there in the group’s name. But killing animals that could otherwise be placed in adoptive homes isn’t terribly ethical, especially for a group whose $30 million annual income is more than enough to do the right thing instead.

      “Regardless of the outcome, this criminal trial brought PETA’s disturbing animal-killing program into the light of day. Most PETA supporters had no idea that the group was killing thousands of adoptable animals every year, but PETA can’t keep its actions secret any longer. The facts in this case were undisputed: These employees took possession of nearly three dozen adoptable animals, including puppies and kittens, with the explicit promise that they would try to find them adoptive homes. They killed the animals just a few short hours later, and tossed the bodies in a dumpster that one of them had used on several other occasions for the same purpose.

      “PETA killed 97 percent of the dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens it took in during 2006. If any other so-called animal protection group had such an abysmal record, PETA would be hitting the streets to protest it. This is a group that claims chickens and lab rats have a “right” to life, but its leaders think nothing of condemning thousands of pets to death out of sheer convenience. PETA raises over $30 million every year, which is more than enough to care for every animal it kills. If there’s a more hypocritical organization in America, I have yet to find it.

      “PETA’s employees got off on a technicality, but the damage has been done. The public is giving PETA less and less money, and the group has had to turn to its millionaire celebrity donors to make up the shortfall. This will probably continue unless PETA cleans up its act and stops running a hypocritical angel-of-death program out of its Norfolk offices.”
      Public records filed by PETA with the Virginia state government show that the group has killed 17,400 pets since 1998. Copies of these records can be viewed at

    14. bob on May 5th, 2008 11:51 pm

      Dee, All these orgs like PETA, WWF (world wildlife fund(, etc. claim to receive grasroots finacial support, but for the most part this is a lie. Greenpeace claimed that they never accept a donation in excess of something like $5000- because they don’r want to be controlled. If you check out the disbursements of the major foundations, then you’ll see Greenpeace was given 100 mil.–and this was 20 years ago. Find out who finances PETA. It’s not just the duped public.

    15. bob on May 5th, 2008 11:58 pm

      Carrie, Any org that goes against God’s word is anti-Godly. God gave man sovereignty over animals. Read Genesis. We can eat that horse if we want or make it into glue. When PETA implies animals have rights, they are going against God. This is precisely what all the environmental groups also do. They say that trees have rights and we can’t cut them down. They try to turn God’s natural order upside down.
      SM: Actually, I am not a supporter of PETA … they are way too extreme. I am against cruelty to animals, however, PETA takes it to a bizarro, moonbat level. They never understand the consequences to their action. Like the time they freed to minx into the woods from a minx farm and all the viscous little critters killed all the chickens in a 10 mile radius.

      BTW, ya may want to check out what types of animals are allowed to be eaten in the Bible. FYI: It ain’t all of em.

    16. Bun on May 6th, 2008 6:02 am

      #8 Bob…did you know YOU are an animal too? I doubt you would be good for a stew or roast however.

    17. Miss-Underestimated on May 6th, 2008 6:54 am

      The fact remains, that the masters are manipulating the Sports across the world. We have ball players, wrestlers, gymnasts, etc, on steroids to covet the trophy. We (being humans) are also manipulating animals. Horses are being interbred and raced before the bones are matured.

      We (human beings) have a duty to respect all life, including animals. There is a place for sport and game animals. I have a friend of a friend who goes to Africa to hunt elephants (so he says) in a friggin controlled farm…. now how friggin of a sportsman is he?

      We have people who insist on having animals as pets that have no business being in homes. Do you recall an infant being squeezed to death by a pet boa? People whom breed pit bulls to fight and then those dogs attack children and people in their neighbor hoods.
      If you are going to quote the bible, you must consider that animals were put here for purpose either work or food.

      Human beings are the responsible party for the derelict of this all. As far as I feel about PETA, I think they should help the animal human societies, if they want to see atrocities to animals; they should go there and help.

      If the jockey knew Eight Bells was injured and continued to race her, then I am sure that the KD has regulations to fine or suspend him, if, indeed that is the case.

    18. David P. French on May 6th, 2008 7:15 am

      We would all do well to remember that whenever we discuss the dangers that horses face while racing that we mention greyhounds in the same breath.
      Animals racing for human profit and entertainment face injury and death.

    19. karen christie on May 6th, 2008 8:49 am

      i think that the jockey should be suspended and his monetary prize be taken away. but eight belles should keep the 2nd place position, she paid with her life for it. i recorded the race and it looked like she wanted to give up at one point, but he relentlessly whipped her and she speeded up to win 2nd place, but i believe her heart could’nt take it and she collapsed and shattered her ankles in her going down. whips should be outlawed. let the horses run on their own. luv you eight belles. kc

    20. Miss-Underestimated on May 6th, 2008 9:01 am

      18. Every year at our county fair there is a rescue for greyhounds. We live in a disposable society and someday, maybe sooner than we than we’d like, we will be on the end of that hand.

      I am not dissing racing horses or hounds. The responsibility comes to the owners and trainers to be humane. The very center of all of this is MONEY, not the sport anymore.

    21. Bun on May 6th, 2008 9:18 am

      My reading of the Bible indicates that God gave command to “tend” the animals and name them. I think this is a protective role and not one of runnning to death, giving drugs to enhance performance and then kill when something goes wrong, throwing into the street, fighting each other for others delight, making tons of money from bad treatment. I think this protective role is for the entire Earth as well.

    22. Miss-Underestimated on May 6th, 2008 11:26 am

      I agree Bun and logic would not need a Bible to tell us that, it would be plain old RESPECT for what has been gifted to us.

    23. JusticeforNatalee on May 6th, 2008 11:51 am

      New York Times EDITORIAL
      Another Horse-Racing Horror

      There is no reason why a race of one-and-a-quarter miles should be a death sentence for a horse, as it was on Saturday for the 3-year-old filly, Eight Belles. She was euthanized after breaking both front ankles immediately after coming in second in the Kentucky Derby.

      The racing industry has claimed, as it always does after such a horrifying incident, that racing young thoroughbreds isn’t all that dangerous to their well-being. But the nature of racing and breeding has changed over the years. Good horses, whose careers often begin and end before their bones are fully mature, are racing less often than they used to, which means they only need enough endurance to last a few races. That makes it all the easier to breed for the lightness of build — and the fragility — that Eight Belles showed.

      There are, of course, owners and trainers who love thoroughbreds for themselves and for their ability to perform on the racetrack, which is a reasonable test of sound breeding. But the real race increasingly seems to be to capitalize on a horse’s success — to move a horse through its career as quickly as possible. The sums involved are immense, so much so that the horses seem more like financial vehicles than animals with an existence of their own. The life of the money comes to seem just as important as the life of the horse.

      How beautiful a galloping thoroughbred can be — everyone who watched the Derby can attest. But we also got to witness just how narrow the margin is between beauty and tragedy. It is exactly as narrow — and only as sure — as the bones in a horse’s legs. The first rule of racing must be the welfare of these horses. Nothing else is acceptable.

    24. JusticeforNatalee on May 6th, 2008 11:52 am

      Sorry, I didn’t mean to make all of the article bold; I was trying to highlight certain parts.

    25. bob on May 6th, 2008 12:15 pm

      Bun, We aren’t animals. That’s the point I’m making.

      SM, God placed dietary restrictions on Israel. That’s the old covenant. But it is true that not everything is good for you.

    26. Bun on May 6th, 2008 3:54 pm

      SM: I think that dietary restriction was possibly because of no good ways to keep meat from going bad. Not sure, have always wondered myself about it. Do you know if Jewish population allowed to eat pork now?

    27. bob on May 6th, 2008 6:35 pm

      Bun, Orthodox Jews today still adhere to these dietary laws. They don’t eat meat with dairy, for instance. Because the Jews don’t realize the Messiah has already come, all they can do is try to keep the law–which no man could ever do.

    28. Bun on May 6th, 2008 8:44 pm

      #27,Bob..thanks for input. I understand about not keeping the law, because I have certainly not been able to keep my own rules from time to time; hopefully it isn’t a requirement.

    29. bob on May 6th, 2008 10:17 pm

      Bun, “Hopefully it is not a requiremant” What do you mean?

    30. Bun on May 7th, 2008 7:09 am

      Bob: We are all “flawed” but I think we just try to be the best we can with life, getting a bit wiser as we go along is what I mean; if the Bible requires perfection, we can’t do it. I feel I want to save animals from abuse, can’t save them all..have saved a few.

    31. bob on May 7th, 2008 12:46 pm

      Bun, God does require perfection. That’s why all men will be judged guilty of violating God’s laws at the judgment seat. Forget about saving animals. Save your own soul. All who aren’t perfect go to Hell. Do you want to go to Heaven?

    32. Bun on May 8th, 2008 8:00 am

      Bob: I see you as very judgmental and maybe angry too.

    33. bob on May 8th, 2008 2:27 pm

      Bun, When you die, where will you go and why?

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