Triple Crown: Remember Eight Belles?

On the day of the Kentucky Derby, let us not forget the anniversary of the death of Eight Belles, one amazing Thoroughbred filly who ran where few fillies have run before, and died for our entertainment.

I know this is a hard picture to look at. I also know it’s in the nature of the horse to run and they love it, but what a price to pay. I used to be a big fan of the races and rooting for a Triple Crown winner every year (my favorite in recent history was Smarty Jones). After all, the Derby is an American tradition like no other, sort of like dog shows and apple pie. Can you imagine going to Eukanuba or Westminster however, knowing that  approximately 2 catastrophic injuries (fatalities) per 1000 starts occur? That would be unthinkable and the sport banned and people jailed, but when it eventually happens to a well known race horse, it’s used to promote the next race!

I occasionally go to horse auctions to see what’s coming thru. There is nothing sadder than watching the Thoroughbreds hot off the track, terrified, failures at racing juiced up on steroids, diuretics and artificial thyroid hormones. The people looking for cheap riding horses rarely pick them, so the slaughterhouses take them for meat.  Oh, it happens, not only to the washouts either. Remember the 1986 Derby Champion Ferdinand? Sad huh.

Speaking of Eight Belles reminds me of Barbaro, the Derby winner who was a contender for the Crown in 2006 but shattered only one leg unlike Eight Belles. His accident was romanticized by the fancy and he was honored as an equine legend. Too bad he too, suffered and died for a day at the Derby. Anyways, I used to get excited around this time of year. Now it just makes me sad.

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