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Support Eight Belles' connections   Horse Racing

Started by Russo (Railbird87); 13501 views.

From: Guest


I also agree with Karen, the horse was made to run in a race she did not belong simply for common sense. It is all about making history, the first filly since when 1988?? When will everyone stop and think of these beautiful creatures, from the start of racings time it has stayed the same. Not enough changes to make a difference. I thank the person who posted the address for writing to the owners of Eight Belles but I am afraid that if I were to write it would not be what they want to hear, so I will refrain.
Msg 36 of 79 to GuestGuest 
In reply toRe: msg 14

From: whitney23187


am sure you know whereof you speak and for me--i don't care who her owners/trainer are/is today...had my own opinions before the race but i will let that be dealt with by all those on the track like you and others in the know---

i am just deeply saddened and know those who loved her(whether the right way or not but loved her) have to be heartbroken..........

  • Edited 5/5/2008 3:48 pm ET by whitney23187
In reply toRe: msg 32

From: Guest


I haven't posted much about Eight Belles and her breakdown for a number of reasons, one being that I know I have been too emotionally crushed to make a whole lot of sense. The mental picture that I will always have in my mind of this majestically beautiful filly laying there in the dirt of Churchill Downs with her red and white "tube socks" on...helpless and hurt...well, all I can say is unfortunately that image will stay in my mind forever. I can only liken it to a small child that was lovingly dressed by their mother to go to school and then being hit by a car on the way. There's no other word to describe it but tragic.

Another reason that I have not posted is because, to me anyway, there are just too many unanswered questions. There are too many "what ifs" and "whys". Personally, I feel like unless the necrospy reveals some underlying cause for this (such as heart failure for example), I don't think we will ever know exactly what happened to Eight Belles during the final moments of that day. I'm  not a medical person, I could be wrong and I certainly hope that the necropsy sheds some light on this for all concerned including her connections, the general public and also for the future safety of all the other horses out there that will race again.

I honestly don't think that, at this point anyway, anyone should be blaming anybody else for this because we just don't know. I'm sure that there is enough guilt and sadness over Eight Belles to go around. Should the necropsy produce some hard facts as to where to find the fault or to place the blame then that will be a different story. Until then I don't think there is a whole lot more that we can do except to mourn the premature death of a beautiful, young and talented filly. Does the racing industry need reform? You bet it does but it needs to be presented with facts and figures, not emotional pleas. I think the best way to honor Eight Belles and all the horses that have gone before her is to continue to gather facts in addition to taking the facts that we already have and to try and help make these changes possible so the future horses can race in better conditions, on better surfaces, with tighter regulations and with stronger breeding than they now have. There are many problems that we have to overcome with regarding to the racing industry. Again, I feel like the problems do not lie in any one area but in a multitude of areas.

For those people (both on the forum and also off) that would like to lay the blame solely at the feet of Rick Porter and Larry Jones, I will leave you with the following thought:

I take you back in time to The Belmont Stakes of 1973. Secretariat just took the Triple Crown by finishing this race by an amazing 31 lengths in the record time of 2:24 flat. I was watching that race at home with my Dad. I can remember that day as clear as if it was yesterday. I remember saying to my Dad " He's going too fast, he's not going to be able to finish...he's going to kill himself!". "Why are they letting him run so fast?". Well obviously that was not too fast for Secretariat one knew that until he did it. I am not the only one who questioned that at the time. It turned out well...Secretariat is an equine hero to this day. His jockey, Ron Turcotte, is remembered as a great jockey who had the "guts" to let Secretariat run that day. His trainer, Lucien Laurin, is remembered as a super trainer. His owner, Penny Chenery, is remembered and is still considered to be a most gracious lady and a wonderful horse person and owner. They are all held in high esteem.

Now let's, for a moment, consider what might have happened on that June day back in 1973. Secretariat could have broken down in the stretch...he could have totally collapsed for no other reason than, as some on here have said, he "ran himself to death". No one knew that day what might happen but there were many that watched that race who held their breath...fearful of what might happen. If that had happened Ron Turcotte, Lucien Laurin and Penny Chenery would all have been remembered in a far different light than they are today. Today they, along with Secretariat, are remembered as "heroes" in the equine world. They are remembered as wonderful, caring people who loved their horses and took good care of them, always putting the horses' welfare above their they should be. However, if tragedy had befallen Secretariat, they would be remembered as the villians who ran Secretariat to his death. They would have done nothing different than they did but that's the way equine history would portray them.

As I said before, there are just too many "what ifs" going on here to blame any one thing or person(s). No matter what, there will always be unknown factors in horse racing. I truly hope that things can be learned from Eight Belles' death so those unknowns will, in time, become less and less.



From: mkmg365


I was upset last night when I heard that PETA was going after the jockey.

From what I read PETA wanted the jockey suspended DURING the investigation into EB's breakdown.  That goes on his permanent record for always.  What happens if the investigation shows that EB had a massive heart attack, which threw her sideways--causing one ankle to snap and then the other???  Is that the jock's fault--I think not.

However, with that being said if the investigation shows that the jock SHOULD have pulled EB up then I agree. 

But let's let the system work.  Suspending someone without due process is setting bad precedent in all other areas.


aka bobbysbabybrother

Msg 39 of 79 to GuestGuest 
In reply toRe: msg 37

From: Guest


Beautifully stated......too many what if's...


Thanks so much for putting into words how I feel.



Msg 40 of 79 to GuestGuest 
In reply toRe: msg 37

From: jock4hire



Thank you for that very driven comment!! I appreciate it! The world would've cried and mourned forever over such a what if!! Glad it went the other way for Big Red!!

You made a point that nobody else brought up! This is a Gamble business and that gamble doesn't come at only the mutuel windows! It's a gamble for the jocks, the horses, the trainers, owners, and just about everyone involved.
In reply toRe: msg 40

From: prudery


TheDaily Racing Form ( DRF ) now has an article by Glenye Cain Oakford up that details veterinary opinion on the baffling injury to Eight Belles .. I can not post it---maybe someone will for me---but is is an in depth analysis that can help to understand and dispel myth and rumor ... I urge you to read this industry piece with comments by Bramlage and others ... It will not bring her back, but things will be explained ...

From: prudery


That is it ... Thank you---one more favor---because there are some that would rather blame and think the worst--rather than to come to a more rational understanding---can you put it up here ???



From: LyndaP31


Okie Dokie :O)

Headlines | Posted 5/5/2008, 6:05 pmPrint

Eight Belles's injury rare and baffling


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Breakdowns of the kind Eight Belles sustained moments after the Kentucky Derby are unusual in horses that are pulling up from a race, equine orthopedic surgeons said Monday. But the strides after the finish line can still present a danger for tired horses.

There are two primary contributing factors for post-race breakdowns, said Dr. Larry Bramlage, an orthopedic surgeon with Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital who was present at the Derby as a veterinary spokesman from the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

"One, they're tired, so their muscles absorb less of the stress, so they start taking a heavier load on the skeleton," said Bramlage. "The second thing is, they take their mind off what they're doing. That's why you want a jockey to let the horse gallop out over a longer distance and don't let them start propping to slow themselves down. The propping situation certainly wouldn't apply here, because the horse had galloped out already a quarter of a mile easing down in speed. As to whether she was tired or not, she'd just run a mile and a quarter - they're all tired.

"You'll see things like condylar fractures or sesamoid fractures in one leg, and as they start slowing down and their mind gets off of the competition, they'll become aware of the discomfort," Bramlage added when asked what injuries are most likely after the finish line. "An injury as they're pulling up is not terribly unheard of. The vast majority of injuries, however, don't manifest until they're cooling out, unless the horse becomes structurally unstable in some fashion. Then they start slowing down in the race. None of those scenarios fit here."

Bramlage said close examination of video shows Eight Belles's breakdown began when her right front leg failed.

"Two steps later, her left front gives way as well, and that's when she went down," he said. "She gets very asymmetric [uneven in stride] for about two steps, and then her left front fails."

That progression has led some to believe the filly's shifting weight from the right front to the left front likely contributed to the left leg's failure. She had condylar fractures, vertical breaks from the fetlock area up into the cannon bone, in both forelegs.

Dwayne H. Rodgerson, a surgeon at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, called Eight Belles's injury - near-simultaneous catastrophic condylar fractures in both forelegs - "very rare."

Rodgerson said he knows of no statistics showing how many injuries occur after the finish line. But studies have shown the catastrophic injury rate in Thoroughbred races typically hovers between 1.6 and 2.03 per 1,000 races.

Smaller condylar fractures occur fairly commonly in racehorses and frequently can be repaired. Rodgerson said that horses with more common incomplete condylar fractures often are weight bearing and can appear sound. But the rarer severe cases, particularly ones in which bone breaks completely and through the skin and allows contamination into the leg, as happened on Eight Belles's left foreleg, can call for euthanasia.

"Once the bone pops out, it goes up the leg, and once that goes the collateral ligament support is gone," Rodgerson said. "The collateral ligament is what keeps the leg from shifting to the inside or outside, and when they lose that collateral ligament, the joint's not stable, and it can, in a sense, dislocate."

In Eight Belles's instance, the involvement of both front legs left no real option for treatment, Bramlage and Rodgerson agreed, because there was essentially no way for the horse to stand, a key to survival. And the open wound on the left front would have made the risk of infection high, even if surgeons had attempted repair.

Eight Belles's injury, and particularly the failure of both front fetlocks, provides a highly unusual and baffling case study for the country's top equine orthopedic surgeons.

"I've never seen it in a horse that galloped out that far after the race," Bramlage said. "I actually have only ever seen it firsthand on videotape and never in a race where I actually have been. Even in that situation and in situations where a horse injures one leg, they're not performing like she was performing. She was closing the gap at the end of the race, so it's not as if she were protecting something or aware, even, that anything was going on. Her level of performance couldn't have been higher. So there was no outward sign that any of this was impending."

Jockey did everything right, Jones says

Larry Jones, the trainer of Eight Belles, spoke out Monday in defense of jockey Gabriel Saez, who rode Eight Belles in the Kentucky Derby.

"This filly in every race has tried to drift toward the rail," Jones told The Associated Press in Lexington, Ky. "It's her comfort zone, and Gabriel knows this. This kid made every move the right move, and I hate it that they're wanting to jump down his throat. He did not try to abuse that horse to make her run faster. He knew he was second best, that she wasn't going to catch Big Brown."

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an animal rights group, has called for Saez to be suspended, suggesting that he should have known that the filly was injured.

Saez, 20, began to ride competitively in 2006 and was the youngest jockey in the Derby this year. He issued the following statement Monday from his home base at Delaware Park:

"I remain heartbroken over Eight Belles, and I want to let her many fans know that she never gave me the slightest indication before or during the race that there was anything bothering her. All I could sense under me was how eager she was to race. I was so proud of her performance, and of the opportunity to ride her in my first Kentucky Derby, all of which adds to my sadness. Riding right now at Delaware Park and being around the horses and other jockeys is good therapy for me, but I hope the media understands that I prefer not to conduct interviews at this time. Please respect my decision while I mourn my personal loss."