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Maries Two Cents

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May 03, 2008

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Eight Belles Euthinized Right After Winning Second Place At Kentucky Derby

Filly Eight Belles breaks down after 2nd-place Derby finish

Second-Place Derby Finisher ‘Eight Belles’ Euthanized After On-Track Break Down

Veternarian Describes Injuries to Eight Belles That Led to Euthanization

The filly Eight Belles finished second behind favorite Big Brown in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, then collapsed with two broken front ankles and was euthanized after crossing the wire.
The field of 20 horses was galloping out around the first turn at Churchill Downs when Eight Belles suddenly went down on both front legs and jockey Gabriel Saez slid off.



"When we passed the wire I stood up," said Saez, a first-time Derby rider. "She started galloping funny. I tried to pull her up. That's when she went down."

An equine ambulance reached her near the second turn and tended to the filly.

"There was no possible way to save her," on-call veterinarian Dr. Larry Bramlage said. "She broke both front ankles. That's a bad injury."

Trainer Larry Jones and owner Rick Porter decided to run Eight Belles against the boys in America's greatest race despite her never having done so before. She brought in solid credentials with a four-race winning streak and then ran gallantly.

The dark gray filly also was entered in Friday's Kentucky Oaks for fillies. Jones, however, won that race with Proud Spell and set himself up to pull off the double.



Eight Belles was the first filly since 1999 to run in the Derby; the last to win was Winning Colors in 1988. She didn't press 2-1 favorite Big Brown down the stretch, and he drew away to a 4 3/4-length victory.

Still, Eight Belles was a sentimental pick by 157,770 fans, second- largest crowd in Derby history. She even had the support of Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton. Eight Belles repaid their faith by returning $10.60 and $6.40.

Jockey Kent Desormeaux and Big Brown galloped by Eight Belles in her waning moments.

"This horse showed you his heart and Eight Belles showed you her life for our enjoyment today," he said. "I'm deeply sympathetic to that team for their loss."

At first, Jones didn't realize anything was wrong until he began walking back to the stable area and saw Saez aboard another horse.

"There was no way to save her," a visibly upset Jones said. "She couldn't stand."

Bramlage said the fracture in Eight Belles' left front ankle opened the skin, allowing contamination to set in. At least one of her sesamoid bones was broken, too.

"She didn't have a front leg to stand on to be splinted and hauled off in the ambulance, so she was immediately euthanized," he said. "In my years in racing, I have never seen this happen at the end of the race or during the race."



Eight Belles appeared to be galloping out normally around the first turn and was headed into the start of the backstretch when she dropped without warning. The crowd was busy high-fiving and celebrating and because of the distance from the grandstand, many didn't realize tragedy had struck.

"Everyone breathed a big sigh of relief that everyone came around the track cleanly and then all of a sudden it happened," Bramlage said.

"Horses really tire. They are taking a lot of load on their skeleton because their muscles are fatigued. The difficult thing to explain with her is it's so far after the wire, and she was easing down like you'd like to see a horse slow down by that point. I don't have an explanation for it."

Filly Eight Belles breaks down after 2nd-place Derby finish
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What a beautiful Horse She Was. What a tradegy. I am in total shock over this. Maybe Big Brown can finally win the Triple Crown and dedicate it to Eight Belles.



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6 Comments:

Blogger J_G said...

I cried my eyes out Marie. I knew Big Brown was going to win but I had high hopes for Eight Belles. She was from the same stable as Smarty Jones and Barbaro. They were trying to repair Barbaro's leg just down the road from here at the New Bolton Center which is part of the University of Penn Veterinary school. I have a horse farm right across the road from me and I feed the gelding jumpers with my neighbor's apples (with her permission of course) My neighbor's husband retired from New Bolton a few years back. I live right smack in the middle of horse country here in PA and I really love horses. I can ride too. They have the steeplechase tournaments just about a mile and half from here and it is quite popular. I was so upset that Eight belles was injured like that and had to be put down. My co-workers had the TV on watching it and I stopped in to watch a couple of the races and the big race. I was so shocked my co-workers had to console me and made sit down and take it it easy because I was so visibly upset, they know my connection to the horses. A terrible, terrible thing!

I was at the Kentucky Derby in 1980 just after I got off active duty. I went with some friends because they wanted to go and I had such a wonderful time. I don't gamble much, I'll buy a couple of $2 tickets but I'm there to see the horses and enjoy the outdoorsy atmosphere.

I think Big Brown is going to take the Triple Crown this year. Affirm and his 18 year old jockey were the last Triple Crown winners in 1978.

I go to the Devon Horse Show every year to see the jumpers. The people across the road have a horses competeing there just about every year and I have been invited to their private box a few times.

May 03, 2008 10:13 PM  
Blogger DD2 aka Debonair Dude said...

Again we are on the same page Marie.
It was a very, very sad day

May 04, 2008 5:38 AM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Jenn,

A bunch of us went down To Remmington Park and watched the race. Remington is only like 2 miles from me.

My son had picked Big Brown and Eight Belles, he won.

What a horrible tragedy after that the entire park was glued to the tv's and it was such a let down to have that happen right after the race was over. Everyone was crying.

My son didnt even want to cash in his ticket.

What a mess.

I won money on the quarter horses, but I only go to three races a year, The Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes.

I hope Big Brown wins the Triple Crown and dedicates it to Eight Belles.

I have a wonderful tribute on the post below this one for Barbaro and all the winners past.

Barbaro was a real heartbreaker.

Now all the Horse people are going to come out against horse racing, PETA, etc.

This is a tragedy but this has been going on for ever.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

DD,

Yes it is, so sad and such a damn mess.

May 04, 2008 7:26 AM  
Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

Marie..so sad...but exciting for the horse race lovers eh...........

May 04, 2008 12:15 PM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Angel,

Yes, I just feel all weird today.

May 04, 2008 12:38 PM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

I knew it,

I knew PETA and all these other nuts are going to try to get involved.


PETA wants Eight Belles jockey suspended after filly's death


I know one thing if Belles broke both her front ankles BEFORE the finish she would have went down immediately.

There is no way that jockey ran a horse with two broken front ankles to the finish.

And this wasnt like Barbaro where he had one good front leg and unfortunately developed Laminitis in his 3 useable legs while trying to heal the broken one.

When an animal of that size goes down, they wont get back up and thier organs start to go out that's the purpose of putting them humanely to sleep to begin with.

To not let them suffer that kind of pain.

If they break 2 limbs during a race it's useless to try to save the animal again depending on the break itself, they do have slings they can put a horse in once it arrives at the Vet, but nothing to hold the horse up on the way and the horse could suffer more damage on the ride to the Hospital.

I remember when they used to shoot horses right on the track if things like that happened, but now they safley give them a shot and they drift off to sleep.

It's sad, but at least they arent shot in front of a humongous crowd of people.

May 05, 2008 5:15 AM  

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