Eight Belles is probably in Heaven by now, galloping in fields of clover on four sturdy legs and eating tasty apples. No, I'm not sure which friends she's romping about with up there (a safe bet; one of them is not Christopher Reeve). Down here on earth, though, things are quite unsettled. Who is to blame? Could the tragedy have been avoided? Does anyone know the whereabouts of Jeff Gillooly?
Such an ugly turn of events. As Unsilent Majority wrote on Saturday, it was rather disarming to watch all the smiling faces in the winner's circle celebration while a few yards away, a horse lay dying. NBC defended itself by saying that it didn't want to upset viewers by showing the dying horse on camera; but the loud gunshot during the Gabriel Saez interview was a dead giveaway.
Meanwhile, horse fans over at the Alex Brown Racing message board are furious.
I want to throw up still. Thank God I have all of you in my living room via the net. That innocent smokey gray creature with her adorable striped tube socks on her legs lying on the track still wanting to run is stuck in my head and I can't go to sleep. This is what nightmares are made of. Afterwards, these lady horses are forced to have sex with different men horses they don't know that well so they can become pregnant only for their baby to be taken away is sad. I will never see the Kentucky Derby as a festive wonderful event. We need to respect these creatures. Judgement day will come for us. — From: csantovena 2:07 am
So racing fans are not happy. PETA is on the warpath. And the Washington Post is asking the musical question, is horse racing on its way out? (I blame the blogs!).
But thoroughbred racing is in a moral crisis, and everyone now knows it. Twice since 2006, magnificent animals have suffered catastrophic injuries on live television in Triple Crown races, and there is no explaining that away. Horses are being over-bred and over-raced, until their bodies cannot support their own ambitions, or those of the humans who race them.
But at the end of the day, I think we're all left with one fundamental question. All of this animal suffering, and yet Wizard Cat does nothing?
Is Horse Racing Breeding Itself To Death? [Washington Post]
Death Looms Over Churchill Downs [Deadspin]
PETA Wants Eight Belles Jockey Suspended After Horse's Death [SF Gate]
Alex Brown Racing Message Board