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May 04, 2008



I predicted this post from you today and I'm with you, Bean. I have enjoyed watching the Kentucky Derby for years but after yesterday, it will never be the same for me. I was watching with my 5 year old who is a NASCAR fan and before the race he asked if the horses ever crashed and I told him they didn't. Needless to say, the TV was turned off pretty quickly after the finish. Very, very sad.


That is seriuosly f-ed up.




That is sad. Too bad.


A horse doesn't even reach adulthood until the age of four.

And a racehorse is considered to be a three-year-old if it's born anytime during the calendar year of third year before the race, so technically, a horse born on 12/31/2005 would have been considered a three-year-old for yesterday's race, even though it's not even two and a half yet.

Now, I don't know a whole lot about horses, but all this leads me to believe that none of the horses that run in the Derby are developmentally mature - it's like the horse version of child labor.

I don't know if I'd want to ban all horse racing or not, but I do think that it isn't right to but that kind of physical pressure on an animal that isn't physically mature yet, because it leaves them too susceptible to these kinds of injuries.


I don't get horse racing.

I also don't get boxing or ultimate fighting.


Amen, Bean!!! Amen!!!


Note to the Kentucky Derby - Maybe having the event sponsored by a corporation that probably features horse burritos at the Taco Bell in Beijing, and that is frequently the target of protests by animal rights groups for cruelty is a bad idea. My second suggestion would be to hire a Chief Veterinarian who can be bothered to hitch a ride to the injured animal and examine it himself instead of standing near the press, getting reports of the poor beast being put down by walkie talkie.

Race tracks in California are switching to artificial turf - would it have helped Eight Belles? Who knows.


1. i no nothing about horses.
2. this is a sad story.
3. i made myself feel better by thinking, maybe horses enjoy running. like a dog enjoys making their parents happy. I am sure that they live a good life getting groomed regularly ,being kept warm and possibly fed yummy stuff.

5. it would have been better if we had unicorn races and they would have an arena type contest on how many people they could spear within a time limit. Now the people would have to be people who were sentenced to death by unicorn. what the heck would you have to do to get that sentence?

6. this is what marijuana does

thanks for letting me vent i feel so much better

Bob Bitchen

You ask "at what price entertainment?" - the price that the owner paid for his horse. That's the price. These horses are for racing and breeding, period. Horse Racing - tragic, yes - sad, yes - entertaining, yes.

Tomorrow, 99.99% of the public will not even remember the filly's name.


I purposly didn't watch the derby in fear something may happen to one of the horses. I find the sport to be cruel. What kind of people find entertainment watching animals run themselves into the ground? Have they bred horses to the point they can't handle the stress on their ankles? It makes me sad and angry.


It is very sad to see a horse simply put down just for broken ankles. In humans it's fix-able and treat-able. In horses...not so much.
If simply bred for sport, the horse is no longer a money maker (as selfish as that is) when things go wrong with it's legs, hoof's, etc.

Horses can attract a couple different ailments without any preconceived notion as to why it happens. When they do happen, such as Laminitis, there's no cure, there's therapy, but the horse will never be the same, so if the horse is expendable, it'll probably be put down....or sold to some family with a 12yr old girl who wants a horse!!!

the Equine industry is weird!


I wonder how much a "sport" involving an animal would change, if at the cost of the animals life the owner would be put down too.


I wonder what's the true scientific reason as to why this happened. I mean, of course, the horse broke both of it's front ankles, but the specifics as to why. Is the dirt not cushioning enough? Are the horses trained too much at too young of an age and their bone structure aren't fully developed and thus more prone to injury? Is it perhaps the hybrid breed of thoroughbreds inherit bad traits as a result of English mares and Arabian stallions?

There's seems to be a lot of possibilities as to the reason why.


Come on, it's just a horse.


I knew you were going to write about this today.

It is a tragedy that this happened. Poor horse woke up in the morning not knowing it was going to be her last day and for what...for people can yell and scream and win some money for a two minute race...whoever won money on this horse should consider donating it to a charity who helps rescue horses and brings them back to health.


Hi Bean~

I thought about you yesterday when I read this on the net. I cried.

Jennifer W

Michael Vicks is to dogs as breeders/trainers/ are to horses? Too much of a stretch?? I'm not so sure.


Raul, the horse didn't know what it was doing five minutes before the race started. They don't have feelings, they can't think, all they do is eat, poop, run, and bone.


Oh Bean, you always put into words what I'm thinking. Thank you.



Welcome to the horse business. I quickly figured out that it wasn't for me after I witnessed some equally gruesome scenes. I'm still recovering emotionally.

Thanks for the post and for all that you do for your animals.


Tragic story. When I read about it yesterday the story said that the trainer was still in tears and unable to talk hours later. I think that he truly loved the horse. I don't think that you can say horse racing or the people involved are anything like like dogfighting- that's unfair. Sad tragic freak accident. Maybe a sport that is outdated, but I really don't think cruel

Vic Rattler

"Michael Vicks is to dogs as breeders/trainers/ are to horses? Too much of a stretch?? I'm not so sure."
-Jennifer W

Really? The trainers took pleasure in cruelly and painfully killing the horse because of poor performance? They laughed about it? Or they sadly and painlessly ended it's life to spare it from suffering?
Yeah, no difference there.

Jennifer W is to rational thought as 2 broken front ankles are to racehorses.

Just how healthy could this horse have been if it had not one, but two broken ankles?

Sorry to say it, but you people need to grow up and realize that there's risk in everything we do, but for a lot of that stuff, we still have to do it. Do we need to do horse racing? No, probably not, but a lot of people like it, and it would appear that incidents like this aren't common, so, why would we stop? It's not like we lose a horse a race.


Thank you for posting this. When I read about this tragic event in the paper I was completely mortified. I am glad you shared your strong feelings with us.



I realize this is your blog and you have control over what you allow for your comments, but could you please delete the asshats that call you a pussy or say stupid stuff like, "Come on, it's just a horse." I realize their comments have a place in this world, but as another animal lover and someone that respects you, I feel the comments are rude and inconsiderate. I don't believe you should be treated with disrespect. All it does is upset me. These people don't understand animals and the connection that most people make with animals. This Steven person is a total asshat. Animals have no feelings?? Seriously, delete/dump his stupid butt.

Maybe you enjoy the debating part of having a blog, but when it comes to animals and stupid comments, the line needs to be drawn.

So Tracy, I am a pussy for caring about a death of a young and beautiful horse.

As for Steven, you are a total and complete asshat. I'm not here to debate, but you young man are disrespectful and just plain stupid.

I know I make mistake and at no time feel superior to you, but I do have a heart and understand why people are upset over Eight Belles dying.

P.S. Animals do have feelings. Maybe you should try to figure out if you do.


Modern drugs and breeding have made the horses less sturdy than they once were.

Jim from Columbus

Let me just start that I feel bad for Eight Belles, her owners and her trainers, having a catastrophic injury and having to be put down after the race.

If these horses were not BREED specifically for horse racing, they just would not exist. Horse racing has been around for millennia and is not going to end any time soon. Have you ever ridden a horse next to another one? THEY WANT TO RACE. This is similar to having a border collie who wants to work.

I am not saying that horse racing is not hard on the animals, but so is plowing fields. Please come out here to Ohio and go give those mean Amish a hard time by making those poor horseys work in the fields. But, of couse, those are not thoroughbreds, they are draft horses breed for doing field work.

Euthanizing the horse on the track was pretty harsh, especially if little kids were watching. In the summer, there are hundreds of sanctioned horse races daily in this country. And having to put down a horse on the track is fortunately not a frequent occurrence. I still have not heard what happened to have her ankles break immediately after the race.

And PLEASE do not equate this to either boxing or dog fighting. Boxing is done by two willing humans. Dog fighting puts two dogs together where the object is to injure or kill the opponent. I have never seen a horse race where two horses were trying to kill each other. Equating ANY of this to child labor is just pain nonsensical. Animals are not humans.

Raising a thoroughbred is obscenely expensive. Neither the owner nor the trainer wanted to injure or put this horse down. Actually, I wish we were half as humane to humans, but no, we make them die slowly in nursing homes when something finally gives out that we cannot replace or have a machine substitute. Also, these horses are constantly checked for illegal drugs. We need to watch professional, human sports as much.

Kari, calling Steven names just for expressing is opinion… sort of puts you below him. Nice way to get people to see your side of the argument. I know my dogs have feelings, but to try to equate them to human feelings is as wrong as saying that animals do not have feelings at all. It is just human nature to try and ‘humanize’ your pets actions and looks.

If you all are so concerned about animals, why not take up Bob Barker’s cause and worry about people who do not spay or neuter their domestic pets… or do something about excess pesticides and fertilizer that run off and destroy large swaths of our oceans… or help stop the overfishing of our oceans… or the destruction of our environment which will extinct the polar bears within our lifetime… or you can just go back and eat your tofu burger and gripe.

Larry Algaze

I didn't see the race and I am not a fan of the sport, but attending a horse is amazing. The horses are just incredible! When I read your post, I immediately thought of Michael Vick and I have to admit that there is not much a difference. Our is country is full of these types of hypocracies. It's ok to kill a horse after racing, but dog and cock fighting are bad. Alcohol is fine but Pot isn't. I think Americans need to look inward and examine their own hypocracies before they judge the activities of other countries.

Glen Quagmire

TO KARI - Just because someone posts something that offends you, it should be deleted? Should your post be deleted because you called someone an "asshat"? We can post whatever we want, and if it goes over the 'line', that is for the webmaster to decide. But a little name calling - get over it.

If you want it all with sweetness and goodness, and sugar and spice, and everything nice, then go find another blog. Either that or realize that this is the real world, sometimes cold and cruel. Maybe when you grow up and move out of Daddy's house, reality will smack you in the face. How will you react then??


Recently I went to a race track for the first time as part of a group event. I would never have gone on my own simply because it didn't interest me and I'm not a gambler. The whole experience was so sad. I'm sure horses love running, but not under these conditions which are purely for human amusement. I'll bet most "fans" there don't even appreciate the animals and their physical prowess. It was a disturbing scene for me and I cried when I read this post showing how tragic and pointless a horse's death can be. Everyone is entitled to his opinion and this is mine.


First, you are right, I never should have called Steven an asshat. Yes, my post should have been deleted for calling Steven an asshat. I was emotional yesterday and I wrote from my heart. Steven, I am sorry for calling you an asshat.

Second, you are also right, this is Bean's blog and if he wants those types of comments on his page I should respect that. I never should have said anything about deleting comments. I come here to read what Bean writes. I shouldn't respond to what other people comment. I should stay focused on what I've read.

Thirdly, I stand by everything else I wrote. I believe Bean deserves to be respected for his opinions. I try very hard to respect people, but I do tend to become upset when I feel that people are being mean and disrespectful. I realized that my post upset some of you and I'm sorry for that. But I do love and care about animals and their safety. I am not taking to task the job of fixing all problems related to animals. I just know that the death of this young horse sucked. It has been hard to watch as they repeat it over and over on news channels and websites.

I'm not sorry that I would love the world to have more sweetness and goodness in it. I know the world can be cruel and cold. I've just be taught differently and I like who I am. I'm not for everybody, but those who know me and know my heart understood where I was coming from yesterday. I did write what I felt pertaining to the comments, and I will refrain from doing so again.


What's being ignored by far too many of the reporters and journalists is that these horses are legally given drugs before the race so they don't feel pain. They have no idea their legs are breaking or about to break until it's too late. Maybe she would have pulled up at the first feel of pain instead of charging to win that almighty dollar and ending up being killed.


I totally agree with you. I don't agree with animals being used for sport in any way, shape, or form, when it can result in their death. The place I used to work did an annual race day at Santa Anita and one year, they had to shoot s horse right in front of where we were at. After that, not as many people showed up.


This one news story made me cry. I have been raised around horses most of my adult life, enjoy the 'Derby' immensely and think the total beauty of watch horse run compares to very little in this world. When I saw her go down, I knew, she would be ‘Put Down’ right then and I cried. I was elated watching her run down Big Brown, I was extremely saddened to witness her last moments. How sad indeed and may God rest her soul.

michelle k

this story crushes my heart.

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