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Kentucky Derby Horse Killed in Front of Thousands

Written by PETA | May 4, 2008

With the shock of Barbaro’s death after the 2006 Preakness still fresh in their minds, the Kentucky Derby crowd saw for themselves the sordid truth about what racing means for the horses involved last night, as the filly Eight Belles was killed after collapsing on the track.

This young filly’s death may have been humane, but the race sure wasn’t. PETA is calling for the immediate suspension of jockey Gabriel Saez—who whipped Eight Belles mercilessly as she came down the final stretch, no doubt in agony from two front legs that were about to snap.

While the trainers, jockeys, and owners may weep their crocodile tears today over Eight Belles’ euthanasia, they will be back on the track tomorrow, putting other horses at risk. Thoroughbreds are raced on hard dirt surfaces—like the one at Churchill Downs. Their bones simply can’t take it, as Eight Belles’ two broken front legs showed last night. Despite the wealth associated with thoroughbred racing, for the horses—most of whom end up broken, cast off, or sent to Europe to be killed for the dinner table&#8212it’s a dirty business and no better than dogfighting.

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  • Charles says:

    I don’t see why they have to kill the poor animal. Those horse owners just lazy if they are going to own horses then they have to pay for the treatment they require not just kill it,shameful!

  • Lauren says:

    I came across this article after tuning into the Belmont Stakes. After admiring the horses’ beauty I found it painful to watch the race and suspected the racing isn’t worth supporting but rather, fighting against. Thank you for keeping us informed PETA. One item on my wish list – to sip mint juleps at the Kentucky Derby – is permanently crossed off.

  • Jane says:

    PETA is right on! I have been involved in rescuing some of the “throw-away’s” of the racing industry directly from the kill-pen. They’re spriit and bodies broken. If race horses don’t perform well, they are often disposed of and (directly or indirectly)sold to meat buyers only to end up in cellophane wrappers headed for Europe & Japan dinner tables. Since the laws have changed and now aren’t allowed to slaughter horses in the US, they are trucked to Mexico or Canada. They are crammed tightly in the trucks, often with painful injuries, with no food or water for days only to be inhumanely killed and cut up for meat. The last race horse we rescued was 400 lbs underweight, her body covered with a painful fungus that ate up her skin, a duct tape bandage that had been on a deep wound for over three months. She was found in a dark 10×10 stall that hadn’t been cleaned in months,feces caked to her body, no water and no companions. To my amazement, she is one of the sweetest horses I have ever known. She had to have 2 surgeries on her leg but is doing much better. She will make someone a wonderful companion when she is ready for adoption. FYI: Racehorses are kept in stalls up to 23 hours a day. They never get to be with another horse or go out to pasture and eat grass. It’s to risky. Possibility of injury is too great. They’re natural instincts are almost completely denied. It is obvious that many people have no idea what happens behind the scenes or even what’s happening right before their eyes!

  • jock4hire says:

    Your article here is so incredibly grossly overstated. It appears to me that PETA knows nothing whatsoever about the horseracing industry. I don’t know who authored this ridiculous article but it’s a fabrication from start to finish. First of all, Eight Belles was in fact humanely euthanized on the track. Not she may have been humanely euthanized as this author states, but she was without any question humanely euthanized, and expeditiously too I might add. Gabe Saez, her jockey, did not beat her mercilessly throughout the final stretch. He hit her something like eight times, and not hard either. Most of what you call beating her, is Gabe flagging the filly. He’s not actually hitting her at all. Eight Belles was not in agony at any time at all. No horse can stretch, and reach out the way that Eight Belles had in the lane on her fateful day. I don’t know where you people get your material, but it’s not written with any knowledge behind it whatsoever. There was no indication of Eight Belles having had any issues with her ankles prior to her sudden mistep in the middle of the turn, where she snapped one ankle, then the other, and fell. Tragic yes, and very heartbreaking for many people. Crocodile tears? How dare you be so heartless as to make this comment. You have no compassion in you to state such a thing. Read Dr. Larry Bramlage’s report on Eight Belles demise. There’d been nothing more to it than a tragic accident. Horses have such accidents in their stalls, their paddocks, and their fields. Don’t even try to blame this on an industry working very hard to keep both horses and jockey’s safe while they’re working a very dangerous job. Yes, there are risks, same as we face every single day. What you state in this article is lies. Your own warped perception of a sport you can’t possibly understand. How do I know? Because I’ve worked in this horse racing industry for more than 40 years. I have the knowledge and education to know you wrote a pack of lies here. You should be ashamed.

  • Anna says:

    I just saw this I didn’t even know that Egiht Belles had died.for a horse to died that way is terable the jokies should be band not to menchen the traners who push the horses to there limes. i a horses lover and for me to here this it brings decrse to the race horses were put on this earth for a reason just like us but not for them to be raced and to be treated badly we are sposs to love them and treat them with respct. Eight belles should be horned not just forgotten for ever horses keep going even when they are injryed Eight Belles would have stop before she was in to much pain but her jokcy keepet her going even i shore that he knew that she was in pain because she would haved slowed down alot. horses shouldn’t have to go through that.EIGHT BELLES WILL LIVE ON IN THE PEOPLE WHO LOVED HER!

  • Lindsey says:

    Ever since I have read Peta’s website or seen the videos i have been more aware of the surroundings around me. Misuse in animals and eating animals at that is everywhere! and surprisingly everyone knows the right from the wrong but will anyone change a thing they do? maybe until they are in the position of the horses dogs cats mice raccoons pigs chickens cows etc. Humans being top of the food chain will never have to experience that! I think for once this whole world needs to stop being so selfish and take two seconds to realize what they’ve eaten how the animal was processed was killed and etc. Realize there is NO reason any sort of animal reptileamphibian or bird should be slaughtered in a terrible way or should be worn as fur! Realize every creature from God has feelings of their own. I’d rather be nude then wear fur!

  • lily says:

    ok so i ride horses and show them in jumping. and i do have to use a small whip sometimes to get my horse going but its no different than the whip they use for racing. horses die of broken legs in the wild too so dont get so upset….i mean ya i dont like whippin my horses but its not like i do it so hard that it causes them pain. its just to keep them focused. and dont get so incredibly upset caz dont u think if the horses were being tortured enough they would buck their jockeys off? i mean racing really isnt all that bad. if the horses were allegedly ‘tortured’ so much and ‘beaten’ to run they would just buck their riders off. its not that complicated to understand people.

  • BONNIE ASKEY says:


  • smit says:

    i dont trust peta or horse racing.

  • Scarlet says:

    Many people think that Peta and other animal rights organizations don’t know anything about horses. Let me assure you I have been a faithful member and supporter of Peta for a long time. I am also apart of a Equestrian Team. I ride compete jump you name it. I KNOW HORSES! I also know that the real talent is being able to ride without artifical aids. Not to mention synthetic saddlery. Believe it or not it can actually improve your riding if you switch. Esspecially if you ride in HunterJumper classes. Lighter saddles can help your horse move more easily and faster. I believe most Equestrian sports can be perfect for anyoneEven strict vegans. However when I think of racing or steeplechase I think of drugs drug addicts gambling and cruelty. This is one part of Equestrianism I don’t think can ever be made better only destroyed!

  • Johanna says:

    I have watched harness racing many times and i just can’t see what is wrong with it? If a horse really likes running you don’t even need a whip. I mean you can’t make a finnhorse run only with a whip they will only run if they want to run. I personally have never seen a horse get hurt on harness racing and the same horses run race after race they are not taken to a slaughter house because people really care about them at least here in Finland.

  • Lacey says:

    Well since my first comment wansnt allowed I’m going to try again. I love horses and they are the most beautiful animal in the world. But this isn’t wrong. Horse racing is something that has been done forever. Even without human interaction horses still race eachother in the wild and did since their creation. Horses are born to run and whipping them doesn’t hurt them. When they are in a race they have so much adrenaline pumping through them. And those calling it a slaughter of the hore because she was humanely put down are crazy. This is the last thing I would call slaughter. PETA why not help poor horses who are starved to death and have to wear halters so small that they grow into their nose?! Watch Animal Planets Animal Cops and see what you should be working to prevent. PETA try working for something that isnt in the media and on the news and try working for something that people dont see. Why dont you find something being done and bring it into the limelight such as people abusing the household pets. By doing what you do now your only getting attention for yourselves and promoting yourself not the cruelty to animals. Horse racing isnt wrong and will never be wrong. Get some facts straight before posting comments as well people.

  • Meghan says:

    i honestly would like to know what is going through their minds when they put horses through merciless cruelty.

  • bob says:

    how about a human race runners running horse cheering on the grandstand.

  • Carolyn Davidson says:

    I understand that PETA is for the proper treatment of animals but where was PETA at when over 200 horses were cruely treated in Gibson County Indiana just a couple of years ago? Did they step in to help any of those poor horses at all? No Indiana Horse Rescue stepped in and helped out providing medical treatment and blacksmith care for the horses that were able to be saved. The man responsable for those horses was given an offer of a plea bargin if he took it he got a year in jail and a year probation and could not own a vertibrate animal for at least one year. If he doesnt take it he could face a 12 year jail term. Thankfully many of those poor horses are now avalible for adoption but there were a few that had to be humanely put down.Granted Eight Belles death was needless but so is the death of many other animals that we dont see in the public spotlight like those Gibson County horses. Their owner faced 35 counts of neglect of a vertibrate animal and 1 count of animal cruelty.

  • Amanda says:

    As much as I support PETA for all the good they do they are mis informing people about Thoroughbred racing yes some and alot of people in this sport do terrible things lets attack them not everyone in the sport I for one do have horses show and race but most of all they are my friends and companions in life and they love what they do despite what some may tell you Eight Belles death is so sad and tragic but she was NOT in pain or agony during the race if you know anything about horses you should know a horse that has her ears perked eyes bright and is striding out with fluid action is not in pain or distress after reviewing the tape I will factfully inform you that the filly TRIPPED while swapping her left lead to her right lead in the backstretch galloping out that ankle gave way becuse SHE stumbled and upon trying to catch herself with the other lead she broke that one too. Its a very tragic event and I know some people might not like what I’m saying but remember I too work in the industry and own horses who are the love of my life and you know what one of my horses broke his leg…in his stall! Not racing not riding in his stall another broke her coffin bone in her foot in her pasture I am so delighted to say I nursed both back to full soundness but things could be different things happen I think we should go after the people who treat these animals terribley not people like Larry Jones or Gabriel who LOVED Eight Belles I speak from exsperince as the morning of the race I saw her rider scratching her head and giving her a mint as he said “Your my girl Belley you show them big boys today.” And show them she did…she defeated 18 top colts and finished only behind a potential triple crown winner. Lets all just give our respects to a great filly not point fingers.

  • Madi says:

    OMG thats so evil i feel bad for that horse and the other horses.

  • francine says:

    I read everyone’s comments and yes I DO love horses but I also believe horse racing $$$$$ fuel the medical research and much much more for all our horse pets. It is devastating to see what happened to that beautifull filly but never the less when you are able to care some time save your horse because of the knowledge we have about horses I believe it is created by that industry we are now highly persecuting. Maybe we are to rethink the true impact the racing industry has in our “horse lover’s lifes” keep learning from our or their mistakes and maybe progress by bettering the rules keeping in mind the wellness of these gorgious creatures we are so blessed to enjoy. It seems like a lot of poeple are just talking to hear themselve with very little TRUE knowledge. It is so easy to blame someone….. next time you have issues with your horse’s health and have a cure for it look well where we got that knowledge from …changes come from pains and heartaches let just make sure this one was not pointless but lets not just look for some one to blame .

  • No One says:

    Here PETA goes ruining more things. Sine the closed horseslaughter more horses are neglected abused and tortured. At least before when they where killed they where killed for someone’s dinner! They still hav ebeef and pig and other types of slaughter but do you care about that no! PETA just loves to torture horses dont they? Do you want hte whole world to just become vegitarians? To some person that horse would be no diffrent then beef or pork.

  • Sue says:

    What about Big Brown? What will happen now that he lost at Belmont? What is PETA abd The Humane Society doing to prevent his being sent to slaughter?

  • Teri Shaffer says:

    Great to read these passionate letters from all you animal lovers and thank God for PETA. The bottom line is we still have far more horses than people to care for them and they are now suffering greatly being transported to Mexico and Canada to be brutally slaughtered. We need to keep our letters going to the senators to pass the bill to forever bring our horses to safety. Just as important we must begin to donate donate donate!! Just think if we all could send even $5.00 per month it would help a lot of horses. These horse refuges are in dire need of our money to take in these discarded horses. They work long hard hours with the continual care horses need and we can donate towards their care. The more of us who show monetary support the more our lawmakers will feel secure in passing this bill. They want to see that these horses will be taken care of without them setting up the funds with taxpayers’ money. Please research the various refuges pick one and support it. monthly. We all need to make this commitment.

  • catherine says:

    im never going to be a jockey after this. This is terrible and extremly an inhumane way to treat animals. These jockies and fans should be ashamed what they are doing to mother nature in order for some entertainment!

  • Scarlet says:

    The jockey probebly didn’t realise there was something wrong sometimes they are not the owner of the horse and therefore don’t recognise the signs. Be very carefulPETAs credability to me is going down the drain saying the this is as bad as dog fighting is simply ludicrous! Dog fighting is a game of sickining bloody violence. Racing is just…running and the odd casualty. There is no more abuse to them than any other animal.

  • bre says:

    I’m upset about what happened to eight bells and the other 15 or 16 horses that is so upsetting I just cry every derby in fright of the horses getting hurt I don’t even eat meat or anything bad to animals animals sould be treated like humans humans aren’t raced and eaten but if animals are we should too

  • L Winrow says:

    Dear PETA I am in the horse racing business. I watch as Eight Belles broke down and cried. I know many trainers and as some of your posters say many of them are all about money. First the whip is not the problem it’s the medications these horses get prior to racing. I know really good trainers who’s horses win and don’t break down because they don’t use drugs. The posters who know about the skeletal frames of the horse and the age they mature is absolutley correct. Many horses are done racing due to injury before they should even be racing. I bought a broke down filly after she broke her sesamoind and she is doing greate. Had she had a different owner they may have put her down with this injury. Something does have to be done. There are trainers who will not use all these steroids and pain meds prior to or ever. We need for the big guy’s to stop these trainers from using all the drugs and pain meds. Either you have a great conditioned horse for racing or you don’t. Maybe that is why we have not had a triple crown winner in 30 years. Trainers 30 years ago did not have access to all these meds. If a horse breaks down naturally running then so be it. However when you use drugs to entise them to eat build muscle and not feel pain it’s just simply bad. But all of you people who want horse racing to end are just dreaming. Do something right and make the things that need change. Shame on all of you trainers who use drugs to win races. You don’t deserve the money and you don’t have a great horse just drugged horse.

  • lorna mcneil says:

    eight belles was forced to run on broken ankles until she collapsed. these are the facts. Now she ran because she was being whipped. Another fact. She was running on broken ankles!!!!!!!!! OBVIOUSLY!!!! Why didn’t the Jockey realize something was wrong.

  • Bailey says:

    The owner should go to hell because he whipped the horse is he goind to jail because he needs to.And they shouldn’t have to kill a horse just becouase it front legs are broken she was the only philly wich is girl horse that so sad.

  • dianna says:

    With all the wealth that is tied into horse racing you would think those finacing this sport could better spend their time and money improving the quality of life not diminishing it. To create more pain and misery in a world already overridden with it is reprehensible at best criminal at worst. Saez should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and never allowed access to another animal. Since people are making so much off these unconsenting horses there should be a limit on the time theyre allowed to continue racing a horse and a fund set up out of their ill gotten gains for the care of said animal. After all it was the horse who won not the human and as such they should have a portion of the proceeds for retirement. And no horse should have a saddle put on before age 3 and even then it is only the saddle. Anything else is too much all at once. I’ve never been to the tracks and have no desire to see humans use horses in such a manner but I grew up riding horses and they are highly intelligent loyal loving and just wonderfully made. I would rather have the horse want to take me riding then making it something forced. That way you both win.

  • Darla Self says:

    I think that if people thought of this the way I do they would NOT be anywhere near this so called sport. Think of it this way Taking a two year old child and making them do chores or work for their food and shelter. Cause you know they can be “TRAINED” to do so. All you racing people can chew on that for a while. And the next time you think of going to a race why don’t you bet on a sure “WIN” someones baby is being hurt right in front of you.

  • Terese Day says:

    I agree with peta that horses should not be raced before age 3. I also believe fillies should not be allowed in the triple crown races. Whips should be banned. Eight belles rest in peace running with Barbaro through the green grassy meadow…

  • Coni McClain says:

    I beleive PETA has been a excellent tool in the prevention of cruelty to animals. I too am so very much a animal lover and cannot stand to see the abuse that happens to some. Yes the people in the horse racing business need to have some scrutiny. Its true that horses are ran on many drugs to enhance their performance or cover pain that could lead to the catastrophic break down of Eight Belles. I have heard that not only was bute used but some sort of shock treatment was performed on her front legs the day of the final race. I love horse racing but I don’t condone running these athletes if their hurting or if the conformation predisposes them to breakdown. In the case of Eight Belles who had the heart of a lion and the legs of a bird maybe somebody along the way should have made a differnt decision. But again the money aspect and fame recognition gets in some peoples way. I have horses and I’m not rich but have been disappointed many a time that injury or comfomation problems have kept me out of my game. Oh well life goes on. Eight Belles would have be a awesome brood mare but the wrong decisions were made. I think when she backed out of the race at the quarter poll she was in distress. The whip urged her to her death. I not only put blame on the jockey trainer owner hard surface but all included. But I think there need to be better regulations as to drug use prior too racesif heat or swelling are apparent than the horse needs to be pulled from that race and any that follow till the injury heals. Maybe mandatory exraying of the extremeties prior to the race should be in place. I know for a fact that alot of the trainers and personnel responsible for these fine animals don’t have a clue and are not true horsemen. I would hate to see horse racing banned but agree that there needs to be some major changes put in place. Most of the horses at these tracks have received and receive honorable care at the highest levels. Breaking and riding them at such a young age needs to be addressed. Most owners overlook this because of cost incurred to keep them at their farms another year or two. So we have immature babies physically and mentally being put into the working situation way too soon. Please somebody help these fine animals be able to do what comes naturally for them but at a time in their lives when they are more apt to prevent such a event we all witnessed of Eight Belles.

  • Scarlet says:

    I swear nobody knows the proper way to take care of horses anymore!! Tack needs to be cleaned as much as possible so it’s comfterble for the horse to wear. And working a horse to much can cause stress! I should go over a teach these people about horses because they obveously they don’t know how!!!!

  • daniel says:

    just a quick message havent got too much time here goes 1 why scold peta for exploiting the situation of another innocent animal dieing for mans pleasures obviously thats there job! if you dont like it dont visit this site!? 2no animal should have to suffer the potentialy life threatening and injurous consequences of human greed and aspirations. 3horses do like to run. they also like to stop running when theyre exhausted or injured not have some self centred self interested human ride them to death! 4yeah people in the horse racing industry might care about horses but not alot only superficially.if you care alot and deeply about the somthing then you wouldnt risk exploiting it to the point of death or be involved with an industry that cant claim to care about something then put its life at risk for things as shallow as money pleasure self gain etc. be back soon thanks peta keep up the good work!! daniel.

  • Debra Powell says:

    I been a horselover all my life and yes the fans owners jockeys are not but as the greedy money lovers. I admired Eight Bellse that filly having the talent beating the boys! But sadly it ended her life.

  • Eight Belles Fan says:

    You people are psychotic and have no clue!

  • michelle maslen says:

    I live in the uk and I was shocked to hear what happened to this beautiful horse.I myself have been a campaigner to see horse racing and especially our biggest race of the season The grand National stopped.How can these people call themselves animal lovers when they race these majestic creatures to death.Maybe we should put a saddle on the owners of these horses and ride them into the ground or until they break their ankles.

  • radish says:

    i agree with some of the coments people have said about how the thoroughbred breed was specifically bred for racing and some really do love to race and compete. however this is were the problems begin. thoroughbreds that dont love to race either play up or dont perform as well this for some reason seems to mean to humans that they are usless and some trainers apear to be under the impression that they then have the right to destroy them just because a horse is not good at the sport it was officially bred for doesnt mean a thing. they are all individuals with their own personalities likes and dislikes. they could still be trained as jumpers most jumpers are thoroughbreds anyway hackers or simply riding horses they are a fantastic breed and shouldnt be treated as worthless and below us just because they arnt good at racing. most trainers take excellent care of their horses though because if they didnt they would only get bad results and lose money. but some dont. this is y they should bring in laws that involve the horses been cheked for drugs and ill treatment before a race. any signs of this should mean the owner is banned from the sport 4 good. there are still a tone of improvements needed to make the sport acceptable. but i encourage any one who is looking to get a horse get an x racer so that they can be saved from idiot humans they are great horses and good for practically any style of riding

  • A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste says:

    If you spent a million dollars on a car would you crash it into a building? So if you bought a million dollar horse beating it would make sense? I have yet to meet a human large enough to physically force a thousand pound animal to do something it truly does not want to do no less a 110 lb jockey. The very fact that racing is a money based industry is a large reason for trainers and owners to take good care of their horses. Malnurished and beaten horses do not perform. However there are always bad seeds in every industry. Stop generalizing. There is no way to say ALL racehorses are mistreated. Any middle schooler could tell you that the idea that ALL racehorses are mistreated is just as equally ridiculous as anyone who tries to tell you ALL racehorses are treated well.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Eric I believe I read it was sodium pentobarbital which is also used by sheltersso pharmaceutical and quite humane.

  • Marie says:

    I have three horses one is a runner I am sure would have no problem winning a race. I got him at a auction last Dec. He has been abused and beaten. I have since found out he was trained to race and hunt. I feel for the horse and a month ago I was in a accident which caused long term problems. I don’t blame the horse I blame his owners before me. Someone said something about what about the humans in the race well I feel this. They knew what they signed up for they have a choice to get on that horse or not. Just like I did. If they are worried about getting hurt then they need not ride. As humans we have a mind and we use it horses can’t tell us what they want we simply make them. I feel for the lose of a wonderful animal. Hopefully the laws will change soon. Stop worring about the rider’s and start worring about the horses. Also someone said that comparing them to dog fighting is wrong no it’s not horses and dogs are trained to do one thing WIN at all cost most of the time it’s with their life. I hope all you that are saying we need to learn more stops and thinks how would you like to be trained to do one thing without your consent? This is what happening to all animals. Lets stop playing stupid and wake up. Horses love to run but not like this I never whip mine I am against it. Either he goes or he won’t I have learned that being kind and giving him all my horses the ability to run when they want they respond much better. Thanks for sharing this information with everyone maybe there wont be a next time.

  • paige says:

    People this is crazy. First of all dont blame Gabriel Saez. All he did was his job. Its as simple as that. Im sure every single horse out there got whipped as much or even more than Eight Belles. Its no ones fault.And apparently not many of you people posting these comments are horse riders. 1 Any true horse person can tell you that you cannot FORCE a 1200 lb animal to dowell..anything. Try loading one onto a trailer that doesnt want to go. 2 The crop is used often in many horse sports as an aid in addition to leg aidsi.e not to brutally beat the horse but instead to give them a cue. Sincemost of the jockeys dont speak english there must be additional ways to communicate with the horse. The crop is what is known as an artificial aid. 3 Jockeys ride with their stirrups very short in order to be efficient for the horse. Therefore they cant use their legs. So given that the whip is a useful tool for giving aids that would ordinarily be given via the legs. People get over it. I cried as much as everyone else did but seriously there was a reason for it to happen. We just dont know the reason yet. No one ever said life would be easy they just promised it would be worth it. She ran the race of her life and will go down in books as the filly who beat 18 boys.

  • Eric in Chicago says:

    I know this may seem like an incredibly ignorant question but can anyone tell me just exactly how Eight Belles was put to death? Was it pharmaceutical or was it a gunshot? Thanks for the info folks.

  • Andi says:

    RE “HORSES CLASS in the USA? The black football star goes to prison for electrocuting dogs. The white race horse owners get condolence letters when they murder their filly on national TV. What’s wrong with this picture?” Posted by Valerie Cohen What’s wrong with the picture Valerie is that one “sport” involving the use and abuse of dogs is an illegal underground operation and the other “sport” involving the use and abuse of horses is legal and considered to be an acceptable form of enterprise and entertainment. You should be aware that you are not accomplishing anything either beneficial or positive by focusing on disparities in punishment based on skin color in these types of animal abuse cases. You seem to be more concerned with the fates of the humans who inflict harm upon these animals rather than the suffering the animals have had to endure. Ironically you are only succeeding in displaying your own prejudice that one species is more deserving of our concern over another. First and foremost this is about the suffering of animals who have done nothing to deserve the treatment they have received at the hands of greedy sadistic humans. If you would like to see a more fair and equal punishment among animal abusers then you need to work to have the laws changed within the horse racing industry. What are you personally doing about that? And until then you need to keep the “race factor” out of “the race business” as it is just counterproductive and can easily be construed as a diversionary tactic.

  • Holly says:

    Penny May 6 2008 0241 PM Very informative and honest post Penny. Thank You… Holly

  • Lin says:

    To Rhiannon so you don’t think the jockey was using the whip excessively? As for the actions of the jockey after Eight Belles is down on the ground Saez walks away. Back to the whip Larry Jones said that Saez applied the whip only to prevent Eight Belles from crashing into the rail. Please. I watched other races on youtube of Saez overusing the whip for instance at the Fantasy Stakes race on 4008 and she was no where near the rail. I also thought that he continued to use it after it was evident that she had obtained maximum placing. From what I have read that is against the rules. When tragedy struck for Barbaro the jockey Edgar Prado reacted immediately and held him down. It was obvious that he loved Barbaro. Another jockey Chris Antley gave immediate care to Charismatic holding the leg to try and prevent further injury. If you look at the series of 13 photos at link you will see why some of us have a negative opinion about Saez. Look at photo number 3. Saez is walking away while Eight Belles is up on her hind legs with only the man in the red jacket attempting to hold her down while others are coming to help. Saez shows no emotion. httpwww.heraldleaderphoto.comderby200820080503fantasticfinishtragicending I do not like the owner the trainer or the jockey. The entire horse racing industry is a death industry.

  • Zorro says:

    PLEASE FIND BELOW SELECTION OF COMMENTS posted earlier WHICH HAVE BEEN SELECTED AS “WINNING ARGUMENT” You know I been around horses for 32 years have owned and loved them…and I have worked for vets in the past. Eight Belles probably had some sort of injury in those ankles and I will PUT MONEY ON IT that they did a procedure called “blocking” to simplify it numbs the nerves so the horse can run. And if it breaks down after they don’t care because the horse has served it’s purpose. You would be surprised how often that happens. As a physician I can tell you this horse was probably pumped full of steroids which seriously weakens bones. One front leg fracture would make me question the use of steroids but BOTH legs fractured I have no doubt. Look at the sponsors who have invested financial support to the derby. Don’t buy thier products! We can make a difference so that Eight Belles did not die in vain. Barbaro Eight Belles only two of the most recent. What of those that are destroyed or neglected because they did not have the speed the owners hoped for or what of Ferdinand a great horse who ended up in a slaughterhouse in Japan?? Gabriella your comment said “a mile and a quarter isn’t hard for the horses to run. Eight Belles’s legs didn’t break because they abuse them they broke because they were weak.” Your comments are horrific! So now it’s the horse’s fault for having weak bones?????? And I guess the whipping part somehow isn’t abuse either… WTF? THANK YOU PETA FOR BEING THERE FOR EIGHT BELLES! I have made overnight decisions…I will NEVER AGAIN watch or condone a horse race a rodeo a horseshow or any other “show” like Greyhound racing that casts aside animals after they cant win The 2008 derby really opened my eyes and I imagine it opened the eyes of other average all american joe’s who love to watch sports I can’t understand the attraction to this “sport”. Real men won’t have anything to do with it.

  • Mary says:

    Eight Belles was a competitive filly who ran herself to death in a race that was too difficult for her… At least she did not have to burn to death like the Champions Saratoga Six and Favorite Trick.

  • walker says:

    First it is evident from reviewing the video multiple times that the injuries sustained by Eight Belles were acute. Why drugs have been used to mask injury which is completely illegal and unethical there is no drug that I know of that can dull the pain of two fractured cannon bones enough that a filly could run an entire derby with no signs of lameness until the end of the race. Because of this fact the horse either A. misstepped or tripped up during its stride or B. stepped into a softspot in the track which led to the devastating fractures. In either case the jockey would not be aware and thus could not prevent the accident from occurring. second The prognosis for an animal with 2 compound fractured cannon bones is extremely poor. In Barbarro’s case he had three legs to bear weight on so it was feasible that the bone could heal. With two fractured front limbs the entire weight of a 1400lb animal would be on the hind limbs. The animal would have to remain in a sling for months and if the bones did heal and infection didnt set in the chance of the animal actually walking normal again is very slim. Because of the compound nature of the fracture infection would be highly likely. Keeping an animal this large immobilized for months would be nearly impossible. Then you have the problems that being in a sling for that long could cause such as pressure sores and circulation problems. In this case euthanasia was really the only alternative and the most humane thing that could of been done for this animal. Third “Wipping the horse mercilessly” The item used is not a whip its called a crop. It is not used to inflict pain like a whip is. A true whip causes lacerations and welts a riding crop does not. It is used as a way of signaling the riders intent just like squeezing the abdomen of a horse would do. If you have ever tried to get a needle through a horses skin you would realize that it is much thicker and tougher than human skin and thus the sensation a horse would have is different from that which we would. A horse will run with or without a crop so if it makes people feel better i say get rid of them. I only mention this to point out that the animal was not being abused by the rider and that the phrase “whipped mercilessly” was very exagerrated. The blame for this accident does not belong with the rider. There is very little if anything that could of been done by him to prevent this accident from occuring. Asking for his termination for something he can’t control is not solving anything. If the blame belongs with anyone it is the track owners and the racing industry as a whole. They should increase the racing age of these horses by one year which will enable the horses to fully mature. Also consideration should be made in regards to experimenting with different track surfaces in order to make safer tracks and protect future race horses. In response to Tina’s statement a few posts up yes it is true that a horse’s birthday is always listed as Jan 1st. So if an animal is born on dec 25th when jan. 1st rolls around and the animal is technically 6 days old it is consider 1 year old. However I assure you that the horses that race at this level are all born in Jan and Feb. Horses are regulated by artificial lighting to come into heat so that they can later give birth in Jan and Feb. A late year horse would be “useless” in the racing world. While I guess it is possible it never happens because they just cant compete with the other horses. Rules are changed for safety reasons nearly every year in sports such as football NASCAR and Indy racing I see no reason why changes can not be made to make tracks and races more safe for the horses racing them.

  • Queen76Bee says:

    Gaylord you are absolutely right. That is and has been the only problem. If races were written for older horses there would be time to condition them and have them trained properly. koodoos Too many lame excuses going on with no real means for real change.

  • Queen76Bee says:

    I like other trainers and owners love my horses and do for them before doing for myself. Just because the connections are richer than I and can afford insurance when I can’t does not make them love them less and matter of fact can give them better and more than I can mine. I will never believe that they really knew that something was wrong and maybe there wasn’t until the race was running I do believe that equal purses for fillies so they don’t have to run and compete with the boys over extending and exerting themself 3 times more than they That is the answer and these long races should be run later not at 3. Hopefully all will get together and accomplish that rather than be opinionated. I feel pain for Larry Jones the jockey and all the connections. Losing a family member as this hurts so badly.