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Support Eight Belles' connections   Horse Racing

Started by Russo (Railbird87); 12900 views.
Msg 13 of 79 to GuestGuest 
In reply toRe: msg 11
Russo (Railbird87)

From: Russo (Railbird87)


How long have you been following racing?


Msg 14 of 79 to GuestGuest 
In reply toRe: msg 11

From: Guest


[soap box speech]

Without mincing my words - although I feel sorry for many of her connections, I feel none for Rick Porter. He is one of the worst thoroughbred owners - having had a bit of success he thinks he knows it all, and is in love far too much with himself and the media.

I said weeks ago that this filly did not belong in this race - it happened because she had not prepped against the boys. The example I use, is like the best high school football player, going to the Super Bowl. He could well be good enough to be there, however he would never have taken so many hard hits, he would not be playing above his physiological limits. Going into that race something was going to break, either her legs or her heart -

[/soap box speech]


From: Brite91


That is so true, and thank you for bringing this message to the board.  While our grief is genuine, most of us never saw in person/horse, or even met this wonderful filly.  I can't imagine the grief that is felt by everyone who spent time with her daily.    My condolences to everyone connected to her.
In reply toRe: msg 10

From: hornsix1


Someone posted this article before Derby Day. I thought it offered some interesting insights on fillies racing w/ the boys. I've copied some excerpts here:

Why the Filly Has a Chance
By Jim Squires
Yet most so-called experts believe that Eight Belles, winner of five races, second in two others and undefeated in four starts this year, has a better chance against the colts [than Proud Spell], mainly they say because she is bigger and more formidable looking than Proud Spell. Of course no one has offered any statistical or scientific evidence that size makes much difference to racehorses. Speed and heart seem to have more to do with it. And Jones-trained fillies always seem to have plenty of both.
Any doubt to the speed part should have been dispelled Sunday morning when working back-to-back, Eight Belles and Proud Spell blistered the Churchill Downs main track dirt in the second- and third-fastest five-furlong drills of the day, 58.20 and 58.40 seconds. Only massive and celebrated Colonel John, working for the first time on dirt, stopped the clock in 57.80 and immediately became the favorite of Churchill Downs backside habitués, at least until Big Brown gets to town. But according to Brisnet speed ratings, one of handicappers’ most prized tools, Colonel John has yet to break 100 in six races, 98 being his best. Proud Spell, meanwhile, has run a 99, a 100 and a 102, and Eight Belles has hit a 99 twice and a 103. Big Brown has scored the highest with a 110 in the Florida Derby and a 102 in an impressive allowance race............

Conventional wisdom holds that colts are generally bigger and stronger than fillies and as a result of having testicles instead of ovaries naturally intimidate the fillies, causing them to give up. Females don’t have a lot of influence in racing conventional wisdom, which of course sent Giacomo off at 50-1.
Breeders of racehorses often see things differently. A lot of fillies, especially until they are 3 or 4 years old, are stronger and faster than the colts. Like humans, they tend to mature earlier and get their act together physically and mentally before the colts do.
In fact, 3-year-old races may be the best time for the girls to take on the boys. Anyone who has been watching Proud Spell run since she was a beginning 2-year-old in Jones’s barn will attest they haven’t made the horse that can force her to give up. She was once a workmate of another filly in Jones’ barn named Once Is Enough, who was born and raised on my farm, and who was leading her maiden race by six lengths when she suffered a slab fracture of her knee. Once is Enough grew up with colts and never saw one she couldn’t run into the ground.
Forget that nonsense that intimidation is a male prerogative in the equine world, too. Young females often run the colts off their food in the pasture. And a lot of big handsome colts have had to be moved to safer quarters just to protect them from a dominant, mean-tempered little filly. Ask the people who worked for Todd Pletcher about the toughest 3-year-old in that herd they had contesting the Triple Crown last year which one was most intimidating to working company in the morning.
If Curlin could talk, he could tell you how intimidated that filly was in the stretch at Belmont. You’d think Rags to Riches would have stopped some of this nonsense by now.
What keeps horses from winning the Kentucky Derby has nothing to do with gender. It is the excitement of the cavalry charge from the gate to the first turn that saps their energy and leaves them breathless and staggering with a furlong left to go. When the door slams at the eighth pole, it hits both colt and filly with equal force.
But there are two big obstacles for fillies facing colts for the first time, that could be easily overcome by experience in earlier prep races. When running against one another, fillies do a lot of talking in the gate, shrill whinnying for the most part. But the sound of colts in the gates is different, more slamming around, grunting and snorting. Colts seldom whinny in a race gate. This can be unnerving to fillies, who are often in a hurry to leave, sapping adrenaline as object of a chase.
The other is that fillies don’t run the longer races as preps. Eight Belles has never run longer than a mile and a sixteenth, while several of the colts have contested one or more contests of a mile and an eighth. Of course, Rags to Riches had never run a mile and a half, and grunting, snorting boys didn’t bother her a bit.


From: Guest


Outstanding Thoroughbreds are those like Eight Bells who run with their heart.  Porter and Jones knew she belonged in the Derby and that is why they ran her.  Regret, Winning Colors and Genuine Risk have won the race.  If a filly is good enough she deserves to enter.  Fillies have raed colts for hundreds of years and have won.  No one had a problem last year when Rags to Riches beat Curlin in the Belmont.....would everyone say that was done for greed?  She belonged in that race as Eight Bells did in the Derby due to her ability. 

This is a horrible, unspeakable tragedy but as Mr. Jones said and all horse lovers and owners know...a freak thing like this could have happened in a field, paddock or barn...not only a racetrack.  He was not condoing what happened to Bells, just trying to make people see that horrible things can and do happen to horses if they are simply walking to the barn or running in the field.

What needs to happen is for breeders to stop inbreeding and the sport start banning those who use drugs on their horses from the sport for life.  Reform is what is needed not forming opinions of people based on what is written or quoted in the press ...or even from the emotions we all feel right now.  We must call for reform in the sport so that it is as safe as can be going forward.

In the meantime, I know that we can all agree that Bells was an incredible animal and that she will be missed forever.  Let's not let her death be in vain and call for breeding and drug reform rather than bash her connections.


Msg 18 of 79 to GuestGuest 
In reply toRe: msg 12

From: Guest


My opinion was formed on this particular set of circumstances which includes many factors that I beleive to be true.

Your ego question concerning the Derby is not something I wish to give my personal opinnion on and to have to debate. 

Been on this board since the beginning and I know how things go.  


Karen Macmanus 


From: cchurch74


Thank you, Railbird!  I don't think any of us can imagine how the connections feel - owner, trainer, grooms, staff..... It must be horrible.

And I also wonder if there would be ANY debate whatsoever about her being entered against the boys if this hadn't happened.  Her strong finish (she was only 4 1/2 length behind one of the strongest colts in the country!) proved she had every right to be there.

Chrissy Church

Msg 20 of 79 to GuestGuest 
In reply toRe: msg 14

From: Choklitz


I saw your original post about Eight Belles and I had hoped you were wrong.  Unfortunately you weren't.

Eight Belles was never in a G1 race, let alone running against colts (although I'm not sure that matters).  Heck, she never even ran 1 1/8 mis.  Every single colt in that race had run at least one 1 1/8 mile race and that's from the DRF PP's.   Eight Belles was now running 2 furlongs longer than she'd ever run in her life and she was the only one in the Derby in that position. 

That filly ran her heart out, and that's what hurts me about her death.  She tried so hard.   Imho, I think she was just exhausted after crossing the wire and that's why she collapsed and broke her legs.  There was no mis-step.  She wasn't hurt before the wire.  Both Gary Stevens and Donna Brothers intially said they thought she'd had a heart attack or aneurism because of the way she went down.  Maybe that's also why Dr. Bramledge said today Eight Belles looked "rubber-legged" before going down.

I mailed a condolence note to Larry and Cindy Jones today.  As Paul Moran wrote: if a trainer criticizes an owner he won't be training much longer. 

  • Edited 5/5/2008 1:50 pm ET by Choklitz

From: Guest



I have loved & owned an OTTT, until his death at 28 years old  and have dealt with the problems careless owners and trainers create and the mess that they leave behind.  As have many of my friends that also loved and owned these animals, thrown away because they were not a Barbaro, how many Barbaro's do they get for the thousands that they breed to feed this ego of winning.

Do not try to out experience me in my own experiences that I have had that form my opinions.

Those owners and trainers did not do what was best for Eight Belles


Karen Macmans