Monday, May 5, 2008

Did Eight Belles Die in Vain?

When I saw Eight Belles put down Saturday at the Kentucky Derby after breaking both of his front ankles, I swore off horse racing then and there. I used to be a big fan of the sport, and believe me, I have given the track a lot of my cash over the years, but when I saw that incredibly beautiful animal being killed, it broke my heart. These scumbags will never get another penny from me, that's for certain.
Two years ago, the world was shocked at the Preakness by the awful shattering of 2006 Derby winner Barbaro’s right hind leg. They tried to save that horse but failed. And now this.
And then, when they interviewed the Eight Belles’ trainer, some clown named Larry Jones, this is what he had to say: “These things are our family, you know. We put everything into it that we have and they’ve given us everything they have. They put their life on the damn line, and she was glad to do it!”
What a complete a-hole this jerk is. How does he know that Eight Belles was glad to die for a sport where she is repeatedly beaten by a jockey so that she’ll run faster? Do you think the horse really gives a damn whether she wins the race or not? What a ridiculous and uncaring remark to make. I’d like to saddle up Jones myself and whip his ass for a mile and a half and see how much he enjoys it.
Now PETA is in on the whole thing, calling for the suspension of Eight Belles’ jockey. Me, I want the trainer to go down. I think he is just as responsible.
PETA does some crazy stuff on behalf of animal rights, but when I heard about how many horses get destroyed like this throughout the country every year, it made me ill.
Here are the facts: The Washington Post reports that there are 1.5 career (and life) ending equine breakdowns every per 1,000 starts, which comes out to about two per day. USA Today reports that there were 55 equine deaths at one track alone, Del Mar near San Diego, between 2004 and 2006.
These animals are forced to perform for our entertainment. And when we push them too hard or they run into some bad luck out on the track, we kill them. I won’t accept it any longer.
I doubt that the sport of horse racing will cease to exist just because I’m not throwing down my little $10 bets anymore. But, if enough of us step away from the betting window—it just might.
Here is what AOL Sports reported about the incident today:
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."What we really want to know, did he feel anything along the way?" PETA spokeswoman Kathy Guillermo said. "If he didn't then we can probably blame the fact that they're allowed to whip the horses mercilessly."Guillermo said if Saez is found at fault, the group wants the second-place prize of $400,000 won by Eight Belles to be revoked.Saez, a 20-year-old Panama native, was riding in his first Kentucky Derby. He frequently rides for Eight Belles trainer Larry Jones.A call to the jockeys' room at Delaware Park, where Saez raced on Sunday, went unanswered.Eight Belles, the first filly since 1999 to run in the Derby, appeared fine until collapsing while galloping out after the finish.The letter to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority also sought a ban on whipping, limits on races and the age of racehorses, and a move to softer, artificial surfaces for all courses.


Anonymous said...

you just showed the world how much you don't know about horse racing.
read that. then re think your damn article.

ed said...

Well, I read the article you suggested, anonymous, and I still feel the same way. I never blamed the jockey. I find fault with the system. What is your response to the statistic that 2 race horses are destroyed every day due to racing injuries? I would love to hear your response to that one.

Bo Baddeson Johanno III said...

Hey guys. Nice article. When Ed and Meat hit the street, sometimes the reader feedback is not too sweet...or very intelligent. The anonymous guy above is an idiot for the comment he left. I read the aricle he cited and it does nothing to make me think any differently. You two are doing a great job and I love you blog. Ignore the haters and the morons.