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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarkspurCO View Post
    What troubled me most was how the filly's death was just sort of glossed over in the news coverage. If this had been the Super Bowl and one of the star players had dropped dead on the field, it would have been a huge story. The filly's breakdown and euthanasia was just brushed off as "ill-fated." She was just an animal after all. And there were all those hats and dresses to photograph.

    I am sure that many people in racing were truly devastated by her death, and I know many of the people in racing care deeply about their charges. Still, I am disillusioned. And very sad.
    You are comparing a horse's death to that of a human's? wow. I think it's getting plenty of media coverage what more are you looking for?



  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarkspurCO View Post
    I keep hearing people say how the horses love to race. I call bullshit. That's just the kind of statement that fluff-bunny bleeding hearts always get called on for being anthropomorphic. You can't possibly know that a horse loves racing. How do you know he wouldn't rather be loafing around eating grass all day? They are big dumb animals and they are programmed to cooperate. It has nothing to do with "love." They're just trying to get along and survive.

    Do horses appear to enjoy running? I'd say yes. Do they often appear to adapt to the handling and lifestyle of the track? It would seem so. But then, what options do they have? Please spare me the whole "love" part though. If the horses "loved" it so much, then why do almost all of them have ulcers?

    My OTTB certainly appears to love galloping in the field. But I honestly can't tell you why he does it, or whether he does it because he loves it. I have a sense that he didn't love the things they did to him at the track. The lip chains, the ear twitching, the shanking, the needles, the stiff sore joints.

    If I had to guess, I would think he would have preferred to stand around with a bunch of mares eating grass. But then again, if it weren't for racing, he wouldn't be here, so let's all just pretend there aren't any problems.
    Your OTTB wouldn't be here if it weren't for racing (like you said). It doesn't matter if they love it or not, they were bred to do it. It's their owners responsibility to make sure they are taken care of. Bottom line these horses are bred for racing, if you eliminate that you also eliminate the need for your precious OTTBs'. What are you going to say that you "rescued" if there is no more horse racing?



  3. #43
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    I actually thought the media treated the tragedy as it did out of respect. I also thought all the people who cared for the filly and worked with her would prefer not to have the world see her be euthenized.

    There is, for sure, an element of not letting the public see an injured horse thrash around, and one can paint that as hiding the truth, or as respect for the animal and the sensibilities of the crowd. There already was one lady who came here to say how much it upset her young child...it would have been much worse, I feel, to see the animal struggling when down.

    I'm not sure anyone needs to see all the horror in living color to realize it's going on. People know. There's such an odd tendency these days to want to see something in its most lurid form...is that really so much better?



  4. #44
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    Jan. 1, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudyandcallie View Post
    I know you feel badly and wonder what you could have done, but stuff just happens.
    The OP posted this on another thread and I have to say to them, STUFF JUSTS HAPPENS. It does not do any good to pour salt in the wound.

    Everybody who knows horses knows that you can’t force these animals to do things that they don’t want to do, especially reaching this level of competition. I have photographed horses for over 25 years and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. After last week at Rolex several people have asked me about the horses being “forced” to compete. The same holds true with Eventing and other equine sports. You can’t force them to compete at these levels. They have made it this far because the horse enjoys what they are doing.


    My thoughts and prayers go out to the connections.

    Charles Mann
    Charles Mann Photography



  5. #45
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    Mar. 8, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimee Thanatogenus View Post
    Poor filly. She didn't deserve that. Makes you wonder if the industry even regards them as horses and not machines.
    Why else would they refer to injuries as "breakdowns?" My car broke down on the freeway. I pulled into the breakdown lane when my car stalled. Cars? Horses? They're both easily replaced when they break down....


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #46
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    Sep. 25, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarkspurCO View Post
    I keep hearing people say how the horses love to race. I call bullshit. That's just the kind of statement that fluff-bunny bleeding hearts always get called on for being anthropomorphic.
    NOT TRUE. I don't support flat track racing at all because I think they're raced too young. But I do believe 110% that running horses truly do LOVE to run and are very competitive to their core. Just ask my endurance horse how she loves to run! I haul her out every weekend to a trail to train and she has never run from me out in the field. Most of the time she trots right up to me, and on the way into the barn she's trotting in place and throwing her head. She gets right on the trailer without any hesitation. And from the second my butt hits the saddle, she has a big springy stride and cocky attitude and she's ready to rock. She knows those trails and she loves them.

    I have ridden with several horses on training rides who did NOT love to run. They were sour and angry. Some people ride with a crop to keep them going. Some people have to get the horse behind another horse to help "pull them along" down the trail. My horse wants to be a front runner. She doesn't want ANYBODY in front her. It's an obstacle I have to overcome with her because she'd run herself until she were exhausted if it were her choice. She's a horse that would very easily be soured and ruined in the wrong hands because she has so MUCH heart and so much love for running. Maybe in 5 or 10 years my horse will tell me that she's had enough. And if she does, then I'll retire her to pleasure trail or something.

    Race horses that don't love to run flunk out and they get sold after just a couple of races. I don't believe for a second that horses have to be forced to run. They truly LOVE it. But, because this passion is so deep in their blood, it is up to us to manage it properly and not allow them to kill themselves trying.

    We selectively breed animals for a purpose. This is why my Weimaraner is fiercely protective of her family, and my hound couldn't give a rip less about us. Two different breeds - two different jobs - two different personalities. Horses are no different.



  7. #47
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    Mar. 4, 2006
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    Flame suit zipped, but I feel like this is something that SOMEONE needs to say.

    I, too, am crushed by what happened to Eight Belles...but unlike a whole lot of people who want to canonize her connections and wrap them in sympathy, I am furious with them. I do a handicapping sheet that I circulate to a rather large requestor list as a hobby, and in my sheet I actually said that I bet she'd be ruined as a racehorse after this and might never race again. And it turned out so much worse than even I thought - because I underestimated her HEART, but not her body...

    This filly was not properly prepared for the Derby. Period. She was the only HORSE in the field of 20 who had never even attempted a 1 and 1/8 distance. She had never faced Grade 1 Stakes competition. She had never run against colts. And they throw her in to this 20 horse madness, and she just outran what her body could handle. Recall that Winning Colors and Genuine Risk had both run against colts before their Derby attempt - and beat them - at longer distances. We owners of thoroughbreds know that there is a burden on us as owners not to overface them, because they are likely to try what we ask, wise or doable or not, with the work ethic they have that seems a part of their genetics. Her connections did not look out for her here - they wanted a Derby horse, already had their Oaks starter, so they sacrificed a great filly to get one. As all this sympathy pours out for them, I just feel anger towards them for doing so wrong by her.
    "To understand the soul of a horse is the closest human beings can come to knowing perfection."


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #48
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    Nov. 16, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seaborne View Post
    You know, I'm usually a lurker on this forum but I have to say from the heart that I am completely appalled at some of the replies on this thread, and at 43 I'm pretty hard to shock. I think these responses speak for themselves. Whether you agree with the original poster or not, whatever happened to manners and at least respecting another person's opinion? I feel truly, truly sad for the future of our sport tonight.

    I feel the same way. I read someones comment that they feel sad for the racing industry because it's open for all to see - while the QH's and TWH's and all the other tragedies that happen in the horse world (and in backyards) go unnoticed because the general public is not privvy to it.

    Sad day indeed.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #49
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    Nov. 16, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swale01 View Post
    Flame suit zipped, but I feel like this is something that SOMEONE needs to say.

    I, too, am crushed by what happened to Eight Belles...but unlike a whole lot of people who want to canonize her connections and wrap them in sympathy, I am furious with them. I do a handicapping sheet that I circulate to a rather large requestor list as a hobby, and in my sheet I actually said that I bet she'd be ruined as a racehorse after this and might never race again. And it turned out so much worse than even I thought - because I underestimated her HEART, but not her body...

    This filly was not properly prepared for the Derby. Period. She was the only HORSE in the field of 20 who had never even attempted a 1 and 1/8 distance. She had never faced Grade 1 Stakes competition. She had never run against colts. And they throw her in to this 20 horse madness, and she just outran what her body could handle. Recall that Winning Colors and Genuine Risk had both run against colts before their Derby attempt - and beat them - at longer distances. We owners of thoroughbreds know that there is a burden on us as owners not to overface them, because they are likely to try what we ask, wise or doable or not, with the work ethic they have that seems a part of their genetics. Her connections did not look out for her here - they wanted a Derby horse, already had their Oaks starter, so they sacrificed a great filly to get one. As all this sympathy pours out for them, I just feel anger towards them for doing so wrong by her.
    And your post sheds a whole new, and even dimmer light for me. I am even more sorry now. We sure as hell can't reject the exploitation argument......I LOVE horse racing and always have. But this picture isn't right anymore.


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  10. #50
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    Jul. 10, 2006
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    Oh brother, so many opinions. I wonder what the spin would be if tbs could talk.



  11. #51
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    Jul. 14, 2006
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    Swale, in my opinion, none of the horses are prepared for the Derby, Big Brown least of all. I don't think they gallop nearly enough. But then again, they are all so fragile or the tracks so fast, that they can't get enough work in them or they would break down before the race. Big Brown has raced 4 times now, and the media is talking about the Triple Crown. I don't know how he can hold up to two more demanding races in such a short time, when he has never done it before and isn't really conditioned past the Derby. But if he had been rigorously conditioned or raced prior to the Derby, he probably wouldn't have made it to the starting gate. The horse I keep waiting for is one that is consistently in good shape (and therefore sound), working and racing at the highest level. There aren't too many. The attitude now seems to be get them to the Derby on as little work and racing as possible, then go ahead and throw them in the Preakness without much work in between.
    I don't think Eight Belles was any less prepared than the rest of the field. I had a win ticket on her because of her number of starts and her win streak. I don't think running against colts makes a difference. Horses being herd animals, there biologically isn't any reason for colts to outrun fillies.



  12. #52
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    Jan. 4, 2000
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    Probably 'Wheee! here comes the feed cart!' and 'Wheee, time to go on the race track and try to catch up with the other horses'.

    A horse has the intelligence of a 2 year old child. A 2 year old child doesn't regulate the racing industry or decide when horses should run.

    However, I don't agree that the filly was improperly prepared. She looked very good coming into the race.



  13. #53
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    Aug. 6, 1999
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    Georgia
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Swale01
    Flame suit zipped, but I feel like this is something that SOMEONE needs to say.

    I, too, am crushed by what happened to Eight Belles...but unlike a whole lot of people who want to canonize her connections and wrap them in sympathy, I am furious with them. I do a handicapping sheet that I circulate to a rather large requestor list as a hobby, and in my sheet I actually said that I bet she'd be ruined as a racehorse after this and might never race again. And it turned out so much worse than even I thought - because I underestimated her HEART, but not her body...

    This filly was not properly prepared for the Derby. Period. She was the only HORSE in the field of 20 who had never even attempted a 1 and 1/8 distance. She had never faced Grade 1 Stakes competition. She had never run against colts. And they throw her in to this 20 horse madness, and she just outran what her body could handle. Recall that Winning Colors and Genuine Risk had both run against colts before their Derby attempt - and beat them - at longer distances. We owners of thoroughbreds know that there is a burden on us as owners not to overface them, because they are likely to try what we ask, wise or doable or not, with the work ethic they have that seems a part of their genetics. Her connections did not look out for her here - they wanted a Derby horse, already had their Oaks starter, so they sacrificed a great filly to get one. As all this sympathy pours out for them, I just feel anger towards them for doing so wrong by her.
    Exactly how I feel. Thank you. I used to work in the racing industry and saw this on so many levels. If you don't believe it, check any CANTER site and see how many horses are coming off injuries. Most of them. And it's not just racing, but all horse disciplines- but that is a discussion for another day. Anyway, my heart just breaks for that poor filly and I feel anger for those who were supposed to look out for her a little bit better. Accidents do happens, but I think in this instance the accident could have been avoided by either different training or flat our deciding that this race was just not the right fit for her. It cost her her life.


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  14. #54
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    One thing though, the horses with mild injuries that come off the track, very often after healing up are fine for less demanding sport. Most people don't have a lot of galloping and jumping in mind when they buy a horse - a few hunter classes over low jumps, a few flat classes a year, or a training level dressage program. That's the main thing - the mild injuries very often can heal up and the horse can do something else.

    I think our mistake here in the USA is the fast tracks. I really think this can be improved alot, and that injuries can be reduced. They will never entirely disappear and there will always be some bad breakdowns. But I think the situation can be improved and made much better.



  15. #55
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    Sep. 29, 2006
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    Swale- I agree. I was worried too. I wasn't going to watch the Derby. I did and shut it off right after I found out that the poor filly went down. I just had a bad feeling that in a field of 20, something bad was going to happen to someone. It just breaks my heart. I wish they would quit running babies.


    Quote Originally Posted by Swale01 View Post
    Flame suit zipped, but I feel like this is something that SOMEONE needs to say.

    I, too, am crushed by what happened to Eight Belles...but unlike a whole lot of people who want to canonize her connections and wrap them in sympathy, I am furious with them. I do a handicapping sheet that I circulate to a rather large requestor list as a hobby, and in my sheet I actually said that I bet she'd be ruined as a racehorse after this and might never race again. And it turned out so much worse than even I thought - because I underestimated her HEART, but not her body...

    This filly was not properly prepared for the Derby. Period. She was the only HORSE in the field of 20 who had never even attempted a 1 and 1/8 distance. She had never faced Grade 1 Stakes competition. She had never run against colts. And they throw her in to this 20 horse madness, and she just outran what her body could handle. Recall that Winning Colors and Genuine Risk had both run against colts before their Derby attempt - and beat them - at longer distances. We owners of thoroughbreds know that there is a burden on us as owners not to overface them, because they are likely to try what we ask, wise or doable or not, with the work ethic they have that seems a part of their genetics. Her connections did not look out for her here - they wanted a Derby horse, already had their Oaks starter, so they sacrificed a great filly to get one. As all this sympathy pours out for them, I just feel anger towards them for doing so wrong by her.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #56
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    May. 16, 2007
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    Swale - i could not agree more.

    For those of you who came to this thread to attack the OP, methinks thou dost protest too much. And you ask for constructive comments. Okay here's one. Stop racing babies.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  17. #57
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    Default "breakdown" like a car - horses treated like machines...

    not so.

    the term 'breakdown' came well in advance of any automobiles.

    It was used on horses first, and refers to the ankles 'breaking down' so they rest on the ground, or are not held up in a normal position, such as when the suspensory apparatus of the legs fails, as it often does in race track injuries,, due to a fracture of the sesamoids, tendon or ligament injuries or similar injuries .

    i am not so sure 'racing babies' is the problem, they are broke quite some time before they are raced and they are trained early, there's a whole accelerated schedule overall.

    but i've also heard vets say a great many horses that they see break down (not in the derby class i don't think) are unsuitable for racing and should not have been trained for it. obvious conformation faults.



  18. #58
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    Jan. 10, 2005
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    Paragon,,,,,,Who are you calling a terrible person?



  19. #59
    horsedaughter Guest

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    Belle's death was surely a tragic thing, but it is not like horses die every time there's a race. Unfortunately, the Derby has been rather "unlucky" lately in terms of injured horses, and I'm assuming this spurred the OP's rant.



  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by I'm EBO View Post
    European racehorses are started later, plus they run almost exclusively (or maybe all the time) on turf, which is apparently safer.
    They do race almost exclusively on turf, but they are not started any later. What gave you that idea?

    Yesterday the 2000 Guineas was run at Newmarket, 1 mile for three year olds.

    The winner, Henrythenavigator had his first start on May 6th of his two year old year and ran 4 times as a two year old.

    The second, New Approach has his first start on July 15th of his two year old year and ran 5 times as a two year old.

    The third, Stubbs Art has his first start on May 24th of his two year old year and ran 6 times as a two year old.

    The only horse in the race that didn't start as a two year old was a 250/1 outsider that finished 14th of the 15 starters.

    The race before the Guineas was a Group 3 race for fillies and mares ages 4 and up. All but one horse in that race also raced as two year olds.



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