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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.
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.
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
I respect everyones opinion here ...but I have to agree with you 100% about this. She belonged in that race as much as the 18 colts that were behind her or the one in front of her. I've followed this horse since way way back and she was my Derby pick. Thank you for standing up about this. I love racing but this about did my in. But turning our backs on the problems ...track surfaces, breeding, etc. will not help the next horse down the road. We must stay involved to try and push positive changes in the industry.
I have second guessed myself about wanting her in the Derby and I have even gone back and worried over things that happened in her last race. I was up in the middle of the night doing just that....But she more than showed she belonged there on the first Sat in May. I've watched this filly run in person and she loved what she did. And yes she died doing it. A freak accident. But...it is indeed a wake up call for the HR industry and we need to be on the other end of the line to push for any and all things to reduce and/or eliminate unnecessary risk. Change the tracks....more thorough testing of horses before they race to be aware of weakness waiting to happen...drugs need to be sharply decreased or done away with...breeding ...and television networks/tracks need to be taught how to be respectful and allow us a moment to show respect when a horse breaksdown or doesn't finish a race. NBC screwed up big time with their coverage...as did the Gov and Yum folks. No excuses there.
I'm not crazy about Mr.Porter but I do know that Larry Jones cared greatly for this filly and I met a woman at one race whose husband worked for Jones taking care of EB...all her connections were SO proud of her. I'll never forget this...this woman heard me tell my husband how much I adored EB and she gave me her upclose spot in the paddock saying..."I get to see her everyday...you need to see her...isn't she great? Just look at her. You have to get closer here and see her..." So I will send condolences to these and all the connections having seen upclose how crazy they were about this girl....
Rags to Riches is a great example and Paul put that beautifully in his article too!! How long did she last after that Belmont race with Curlin? She never raced the same afterwards.
Reform hell yes!! I'm for it!! I'd not meant to bash anybody! I have a horses and have had many over the years. And I know just how fragile they are. Yes they get hurt out in the field etc. I know what's your point? That Larry Jones makes sense to you fine! He isn't a dumb guy! He didn't get the good horses because he's a dummy! He does know how to talk, and many trainers do, and don't know what they're doing. I won't say that about Larry, because he does know horses, and I think in this case he also knew that Eight Belles shouldn't have been in this particular race! You have your opinion, and you're certainly entitled to it. I did not form my opinion by reading the article, but it's a beautifully written article that speaks to the core of what I felt after I'd studied the PP's. He is a sports writer that's been covering horse racing for 30 some years. I think he's qualified to make many of the calls he made! And he predicted them pre-Derby! He called it as he saw it and it came to be so!!
I've been fighting for drug reform in this industry for years! Breeding? Go on and fight these thousands of people and back yard breeders. Start with the AQHA! Do what you like. I'm stating an opinion and it's based on facts. I'd not exactly call it bashing but if you saw it that way, . . . I guess it is! I'm sorry and apologize for it. Yes racing has lost a bright star, it was wholly unnecessary!!
That filly didn't finish strong in that race by the way!! She was running her legs off at the finish and well, . . . . She ran her legs off!
A couple of points, if I may:
-Although it is honorable and "caring" that it was debated for weeks whether to enter Eight Belles into the KD...they DID debate, as many do before entering a horse in a race, but it seems there was quite a bit of "debate" going on. They also called on other owners/trainers of fillys that had raced. This was, yes, "caring." But! And it is obvious from watching and listening to trainer, Jones, before the race, that he was very nervous, i.e., had his doubts.
-"...they did not want to push her," re what post she got...eventually #5, so that was ok? Was it not "pushing" as this was the longest race she had done...and with the seasoned TB guys?
-Porter wanted "success." Was this not "ego," as all owners want to win?
-Comparing Eight Belles to Rags in the Belmont. Was there not some questioning if the Belmont did-her-in? And now, thankfully, she is secure, alive, retired and in foal.
-*Much comment was made that Eight Belles collapsed AFTER the race, and not at a full gallop.
You say, "She was moving at a slow gallop when the accident occured. It's not something that the stress of racing caused." Is there not something called "adrenaline" that keeps animal and human going. Fight or flight? She was trained to run and was being "encouraged" by the whip and running with the horses. And horses naturally do that, try to keep up with the herd?
Adrenaline. Have you ever seen an athlete collapse AFTER a marathon? The adrenaline stops. All horses wind down after a race. But just maybe, she had pushed to the brink before the finish line? And ran literally, with all her small heart. (TB"s do have small hearts for their size.)
-*"But her finish proved that she belonged, and that they spotted her well."
I don't think so! Yes, she came in 2nd place, by whatever means. But her finish was a horrible, painful death 7 minutes after she crossed over the finish line. HER FINISH PROVED SHE DID NOT BELONG.
- Lastly, a dirt track and lack of syrthetic surface does not seem to be what brough Eight Belle down.
The debate continues, how and why. Thank you for your input, too.
Now, where is the autopsy report?
Very Respectfully Submitted
Thanks for your comments Railbird--I couldn't agree more! I have sent my condolences to the Eight Belles team-I can't imagine what despair and sadness they must be feeling to lose their pride & joy of the barn.
She DID belong in the Derby-she put 18 colts to shame exhibiting her talent! Just looking at her made me smile...she will be missed, but never forgotten.