May 03, 2008

Unbeaten Big Brown comes through to win Kentucky Derby.: Big Brown backed up his trainer's boasts with an explosive finishing kick and won the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, a commanding victory turned somber by the fatal breakdown of the filly Eight Belles on horse racing's biggest day.

posted by BoKnows to other at 06:40 PM - 22 comments

Video of race here.

posted by BoKnows at 06:40 PM on May 03, 2008

Eight Belles. .

posted by BoKnows at 06:45 PM on May 03, 2008

Big Brown ran a great race. Eight Belles was valiant. Tragedy instead of triumph at the end. .

posted by Trolley at 07:14 PM on May 03, 2008

A blogger argues that the death of Eight Belles is the latest indicator that yearlings are too young to be raced.

posted by rcade at 07:58 PM on May 03, 2008

Here's another video. Complete race and post race reactions.

posted by BoKnows at 08:10 PM on May 03, 2008

That is utterly heartbreaking. She ran a beautiful race.

posted by evixir at 11:15 PM on May 03, 2008

Sorry, but this is why I loathe horse racing. MMA gets a ton of shit for being "barbaric" and all that bullshit. At least both guys chose to be in there. Horse racing makes me sick, especially since it exists purely so gamblers can make money. .

posted by Drood at 12:05 AM on May 04, 2008

A tragedy to say the least. Eight Bells .

posted by dviking at 01:38 AM on May 04, 2008

While I love the tradition of events like the Derby, I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth the cost.

posted by sandskater at 01:47 AM on May 04, 2008

I love horses-I watch horse races--But I think they are letting too many horses run in each race & they are breeding for speed alone rather than for good bones & durability.

posted by LadyGen at 07:38 AM on May 04, 2008

Horse-racing is most dangerous sport out there for the athletes involved. I've no great love for flat racing. The horses are too young to be running like that so many times in close succession. Not to mention over bred. They run for a year and then either end up on the rubbish pile or retire in glory. But I still enjoy the odd National Hunt race. In many ways more dangerous than flat racing, but the horses are around for so much longer, often becoming such iconic figures.

posted by Fence at 07:48 AM on May 04, 2008

This was taken from one of the links Fence noted above: According to several estimates, there are 1.5 career-ending breakdowns for every 1,000 racing starts in the United States. That's an average of two per day. Given that on any fall Sunday more than 1000 NFL players take the field, would we accept having 1.5 of them suffer career ending injuries? Of course, knowing that "career ending" for a horse often means death, how many deaths would we accept in the NFL per year?

posted by dviking at 10:59 AM on May 04, 2008

In maritime terms, 8 bells signifies the end of a watch. The irony of the name Eight Belles is rather poignant. Are they breeding horses that are too delicate to withstand the pounding of a race?

posted by Howard_T at 12:15 PM on May 04, 2008

Exactly Howard. And the distances in the triple crown too much for a yearling to handle. Tragic that such a beautiful animal will utterly spend itself for just one race.

posted by Tinman at 12:49 PM on May 04, 2008

Admittedly, I know very little about horses and horse racing, so I apologize now if my comments show my ignorance. It seems obvious to me that Eight Belles' ankles were weak prior to the race, and with each stride, she caused more and more damage to them, ultimately fracturing both. With all the money the owners and trainers spend breeding and training these horses, why wouldn't they use x-ray to check bone structure and density? Especially if the horse is young and it's bones aren't fully developed.

posted by BoKnows at 12:58 PM on May 04, 2008

Maybe I've watched too many cartoons over the last half century, but I truely expected to see Eight Bells fall to her knees at the finishline and summersalt head over tail a few times.

posted by Folkways at 04:32 PM on May 04, 2008

In maritime terms, 8 bells signifies the end of a watch. The irony of the name Eight Belles is rather poignant. Are they breeding horses that are too delicate to withstand the pounding of a race? Howard, there may be something to that. A friend of mine who has some knowledge of horses told me that many of these thoroughbreds are now being bred with lighter or more hollow bones in order to make them lighter, faster, and able to react quicker to a jockey's commands. We're not sure if that's true, or even possible, but it would explain the increasing number of breakdowns we've seen the past 2-3 years.

And if it is true, the outrage among animal lovers should know no bounds. I'm a little sick over this one.

posted by NerfballPro at 10:25 PM on May 04, 2008

I'm not an equestrian or a racing enthusiast, but it sure seems to me that when it starts to seem like there's a decent chance of a breakdown in every single Derby, even the most ardent fan would lose their taste for mint juleps.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:59 AM on May 05, 2008

Why am I not surprised PETA is sticking their paws into this? Presumably because you didn't just fall off the turnip truck, and the obvious fails to escape you. I'm not carrying any water for PETA, but given their self-declared purpose, why would anybody be surprised that they're involved? It's like the NAACP getting involved in the case of a lynching, ya know?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:22 PM on May 05, 2008

1) I welcome PETA's inquiry into this...if the horse was mistreated in any way, steps need to be taken to address it. If they can help prevent this from occurring in the future, all the better. 2) Does anyone really develop a taste for mint juleps? Awful concoction if you ask me. I've never heard anyone order a second one.

posted by dviking at 06:40 PM on May 05, 2008

A recent article in Scientific American says that there is a lot of work being put into preventing these break-downs. Hard to tell if it'll work or not, but at least something is being done. It also points out that although there is speculation over inherited defects, as of yet, there isn't really any proof one way or the other.

posted by Fence at 07:00 AM on May 18, 2008

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