It Is Time To Say … Enough!


Proud filly, Eight Belles, is euthanized
after break down at Kentucky Derby.


She ran with the heart of a locomotive, on champagne-glass ankles for the pleasure of the crowd, the sheiks, oilmen, entrepreneurs, old money from the thousand-acre farms, the handicappers, men in bad sport coats with crumpled sheets full of betting hieroglyphics, the julep-swillers and the ladies in hats the size of boats, and the rest of the people who make up thoroughbred racing.     Washington Post


Why do we keep giving thoroughbred horse racing a pass? Is it the tradition? 

This isn’t about one death. This is about the nature of a sport that routinely grinds up young horses.

Why do we refuse to put the brutal game of racing in the realm of mistreatment of animals?

Eight Belles was another victim of a brutal sport that is carried, literally, on the backs of horses. Horsemen like to talk about their thoroughbreds and how they were born to run and live to run. The reality is that they are made to run, forced to run for profits they never see.

And who knows how many horses die anonymous deaths?

Eight Belles, we’ll write, was merely the casualty of a brutal game.
New York Times


“Trainer Larry Jones said, ‘She went out in a blaze of glory,’ as he tried to hold back tears from his reddening eyes.

She did not go out in a “blaze of glory.” She went out in hideous pain, unable to understand why her legs gave out when all she was doing was running like hell. She went out in the back of a truck. 
At Large


For beautiful, Eight Belles,
her life had just begun.


It is time to say enough.


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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ditto…………

  2. Heartbreaking!

    What a day of both triumph and tragedy.

    The Mane Point


  3. There aren’t words. I am deeply saddened by this story…it is one of many. Why, why, why must these horses be started so young?

  4. The horse racing industry is being really stupid. If they don’t fix their problems, the public will fix them for them.

    I may be naive, but I believe that horses can be safely raced (though personal history has proved that horses can’t even be turned out into pastures safely….) The horses need to be bred for soundness as well as speed and not raced until they are mature.

    So sad.

  5. You’re right enough is enough. There has got to be a better safer way.

  6. This is a problem with the sport that won’t be fixed on the track (by PolyTrack or whatever). It can be helped in the barns, by restricting the use of drugs that mask minor injuries (which become catastrophic injuries). The problem can be helped by not starting horses so young.

    However, the problem with horse racing in North America can only be SOLVED in the breeding shed. Breeders have to breed for durability and soundness instead of early maturation, light bones, and speed, speed, speed. Until the industry financially rewards the owners and breeders of a durable horse, instead of sending horses to stud as soon as they’re voted 2-year-old or 3-year-old of the year, we unfortunately will continue to see accidents of this type.

  7. This is the reason I don’t watch horse racing. I don’t want to see another beautiful animal break down and have to be euthanized on the track. These horses shouldn’t be raced at such a young age, if at all. Eight Belles is problably one of thousands of horses who have lost their lives this way. We don’t hear about the others who die the same painful way that she did. What about all the others that don’t make it to the Kentucky Derby and all the other big races. The ones that are to slow, if their not used for breeding, some end up going to slaughter! Not everyone who breeds and races thoroughbreds cares about what happens to them if their not making them any money.
    They should be ashamed of themselves!

  8. Every horse in the world is put at risk in any sport. Yeah, we’ve lost horses to racing, but that doesnt make racing a death game. There are alot of trainers that, when they see an injured horse, they think of ways to prevent that. Yeah, some trainers dont care about their horses, but some people out there dont like seeing good horses being put down for somthing that could’ve easily been preveneted. I agree that horses shouldn’t be raced untill they’re 3 or 4, but the buisness itself isnt bad. Yes, losing Eight Belles was bad, as well as greats like Ruffian, Babaro and alot more. But you cant go blasting the sport with stuff like we shouldnt race at all or racing is a killer. Jumping can be a killer. Dressage can be a killer. Cross Country, endurance, barrel racing, any sport that involves horses is dangerous to both rider and horse in some way.

  9. This is an important post, and one that I don’t believe many people think about often enough. As sad as it is, I don’t think people will discontinue horse racing anytime soon. It’s like it is with so many other instances of animal cruelty for profit, not enough people care because it’s all about the money.

  10. I agree with all that’s been said about racehorses being started too young. As a past owner of a Thoroughbred myself,who was not raced, I took the time to gently train him first by driving. He did this for 2 1/2 years before I ever got on his back. He matured slowly; his spine didn’t close till he was nearly 4 years old. I didn’t ride till he was a five year old. Then dressage for a year, then started jumping. He was a big horse;18.2 hands tall, and nearly 1600 pounds at maturity. He was never injured except for minor cuts and scrapes once in a while. He died in 2007 at the ripe old age of 34. I miss him terribly to this day. I owned him from the time he was 7 months old, just after he was weaned.

  11. She was only three 😦

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