Here's part of the Baltimore Sun's recap of yesterday's disastrous Kentucky Derby running at Churchill Downs.
Ky. - "Eight Belles was grabbing all the real estate she could as she
pounded down the front stretch in a long-striding effort to catch Big
Brown as he streaked toward victory.
It was a race Big Brown would win by 4 3/4 lengths, but Eight Belles had shown her stamina and determination and the 157,770 fans at Churchill Downs for the 134th Kentucky Derby celebrated as the favorite, followed by the lone filly in the race, came home one-two today.
But the celebration didn't last. As Eight Belles galloped out around the first turn, she stopped and went to her knees and then collapsed on the track.
Eight Belles, a big, strapping daughter of Unbridled's Song who was attempting to become the fourth filly to win the Derby, had broken both of her front ankles.
She was immediately euthanized.
'There was no reason to wait,' said Dr. Larry Bramlage, the American Association vet on call.
In the stands trainer Larry Jones saw his filly cross the finish line with her ears up, in no distress and he left the stands elated, having seen Eight Belles join Hard Spun as a second-place finisher for him in back-to-back Derbies. It wasn't until he got to the track that he discovered a horse had gone down and then that it was Eight Belles.
'I was shocked,' said Jones. 'Put her down? We're used to trying to save them now. But when I did see her, there was no doubt it had to be done.'
Bramlage, who has been working at race tracks since 1975, said he had never seen such an injury.
'Sometimes, rarely, you might see a horse suffer something in one leg,' Bramlage said. 'But I've never seen it happen in both like that.'
Eight Belles is the second 3-year-old in three years to be euthanized after injuries in a Triple Crown Race. Barbaro, the 2006 Derby winner, suffered a shattered left front leg in the Preakness Stakes two weeks after winning here."
Bean here. Question: At what price entertainment, you guys? I know that horse racing in this country generates millions of dollars of revenue for those involved and is enjoyed by millions of fans as well.
But are the animals that are born and bred just to race merely expendable cogs in the money-making machinery? Should we just expect they'll just lose a few as the price of doing business? At the end of the day is Eight Belles' death just like crashing a NASCAR vehicle? Is it, "No sweat, we'll buy another one?"
Here's all I know. At 3:15 yesterday afternoon this very young horse was completely healthy. And through no fault of her own, just ten minutes later, she was completely dead.