Anyone else saddened by the Derby today?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by kjade, May 3, 2008.

  1. kjade

    kjade New Member

    I was at a family party today, and we watched (& bet) on the Kentucky Derby. The horse that came in 2nd place broke both ankles, and was lying on the ground after she finished in 2nd place.

    They euthanized her on the spot. I was so upset about it, I was near tears. There was a big discussion about it at the party, and my family was telling me that a horse is no good if they get hurt like that. I just couldn't believe they would do that - I kept saying "why can't they just put the ankles in casts? So what if she can never race again"!

    They kept telling me that it can't be done because horses don't lay down and the only way to treat that kind of injury would be to keep the horse in some kind of sling - someone said that is what they did to "Seabiscuit" (sp?) and that horse only had one broken ankle.

    They kept showing the race again, and I was so upset watching this filly fighting to win this race, coming in 2nd place, and then being put down right away because of broken ankles. Everyone kept saying "it is JUST a horse - those horses are their money makers, and that horse became useless to the owners at that point". They said the medical bills alone would not be worth it so they put the poor thing out of it's misery.

    I am still sick about this, and wished I hadn't seen it. Sorry....I just had to get that off my chest.
  2. Janalynn

    Janalynn New Member

    I didn't know about this!! That breaks my heart! I love horses, they were a huge part of my life, showing them for many years. I can't even stand to watch them fall.

    Thanks for letting me know (I think..) That is just so sad - the poor poor thing. Was this the 3 year old filly?
  3. lgp

    lgp Well-Known Member

    I have been sick to my stomach since I heard about this yesterday right after the derby--I always watch it but was out yesterday and didn't make it back in time. Of course I saw the replays and I was horrified that this poor beautiful animal could not be saved. I also wondered why they couldn't try and save her and my dad explained to me how inhumane it would be to prolong her agony.

    I live relatively close to two major racetracks and so the races have always been second nature to us. After yesterday though, I really have to question the humanity of a sport that would push a beautiful, graceful animal to its literal (not figurative) breaking point, and the most we can offer this dying creature is 'to quickly put her out of her misery.' I saw the look in this dying beauty's eye, and I could only barely, audibly whisper the tearful words, "I'm so sorry...."

    I know horse racing will never stop, but I don't think I can ever watch it again..potentially too painful for me.


    [This Message was Edited on 05/04/2008]
  4. Kathleen12

    Kathleen12 New Member

    Though horses look full grown at 3, they are not. They have their full size, but the bones are still trying to fuse and harden. Especially the legs.

    When a horse has even a mere fracture, it is hard to heal. When there is a total break, it is almost impossible for the wound to heal at all. When this happens, the blood circulation is severly limited to the hooves which create even more devastation. Even if the horse is placed in a sling, the breaks cannot heal. The horse will be in lifelong pain....severe pain!

    Remember the efforts they gave poor ol' Barberos last year? Heroic efforts! But the complications were so great that the only humane left to do was euthanasia. I appreciate their efforts, but I wish the poor baby didn't have to live a whole year in that kind of pain.

    It was the most humane thing that could've been done for this young filly. She will not have to endure the futile heroic efforts that was given to Barbero.
  5. Greenbean7

    Greenbean7 New Member

    I worked with thoroughbred race horses for 7 years. I was at tracks in Washington (Longacres, Yakima Meadows), Oregon (Portland Meadows), California (Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Fields) and Arizona (Turf Paradise). It is a hard life and sometimes very sad.

    The horse become much more than "just a horse" to those of us who care for them 7 days a week. They are "ours".

    For those horses you see in the big races life is very different from those that run everyday around the country and the world.

    A horse like Barbaro was not only worth millions as a race horse and stud but was a big part of the owners lives. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to save him and visited him nearly everyday. The groom who cared for him at the track lived at the vet hospital for several months just to help take care of "his" horse. They knew immediately that he would never race again and with in a couple months it was clear that he would never be strong enough to mount a mare. After that it was just trying to save him for retirement and lots of TLC. But this is not the norm. Most owners could not afford to make these efforts.

    Eight Belles was euthonized almost immediately after she went down. Both front ankles were broken. A horse cannot recover from such an injury regardless of the care they receive. The owner and trainer didn't even make it to the track before the track vet made the decision and the injection was given. The main concern at that point was to stop her pain, and she was in agonizing pain.

    The decision to euthonize had nothing to do with the filly not being able to race again or the cost of medical care. Her owners could afford to give her whatever care she needed if there had been any chance of saving her. She would not only not race again she would not even have been able to stand. Had there been any hope of saving her the same heroic efforts that were made for Barbaro after he broke down at the Preakness would have been made for her.

    Yes, it's a business. But the horses are not machines or throw away parts. They become a part of your life just like your pets. They don't belong to you as a groom but their everyday care and well being is in your hands. They are precious to each groom and most of the trainers and owners.

    But, there is a whole different world of racing that goes pretty much unnoticed by the non-betting public. And that is where the real crime is.

    First off horses are raced way to young! Starting as two year olds is just ridiculas! Even the three year olds knees aren't closed yet and the chance of injury as a three year old is extremely high. Horses are started at two because the big races, the Derby, Preakness and Belmont, are all for three year olds. It's just sad to do that to a horse!

    And the kind of care that Barbaro received simply isn't available to your everyday "claimer". These horses are run in claiming races with a set price. Any owner can then claim a horse right out of the race. You might take your horse over for the race and come back with a halter and bridle while the horse goes to a different barn. Those claimers, even most that run for $35,000, will not be treated like a horse in the Derby. No $2500 claimer is going to survive a career ending injury. Those are the horses we should be concerned about. Those are the ones that break down and are put down EVERYDAY! And no one notices or gets in an uproar because most people just don't know.

    If you have a cheap claimer with a problem the trainer may try to get the horse ready to race in the hopes that someone will claim him. The new owner puts in the claim before the race starts and even if the horse were to break down in the race the new owner owns him. And there are a LOT of trainers out there who do just that. The welfare of the horse means nothing to them.

    Thoroughbreds also all have the same birthday, January 1. That means if a colt is actually born in May it is still considered a one year old the next January 1 even though it is actually only 8 months old. Horses are bred to be born as close to January 1 as possible, but you have to be careful because a December baby is a year old within weeks. That means none of those two year olds or three year olds are actually that old! And if you get the colt born in January you have an advantage because he is generally more mature when he starts to race.

    Horses break down on tracks everyday. I had it happen to one of mine and one of my husband's at Bay Meadows in California within two weeks of each other. Mine broke down coming out of the gate (he was 4) and my DH lost his during an early morning gallop (he was a 2 year old, what we referred to as a "baby"). He simply pulled up lame as he was being eased down and a bone in his front leg had broken.

    It's always sad when a horse breaks down and there are so many changes that could be made on the track to minimize this. Starting at an older age is just one of them. Better surfaces, better breeding for strength not just speed, better training so horses who aren't ready or aren't sound are not raced, ever! Any horse who has to have it's legs iced before the race is not sound enough to race. Icing a horse means standing him in canvas boots that come up over his knees and filling the boots with ice. The horse stands in the ice boots for several hours and when he goes to the front side he doesn't feel the aches in his legs or feet. With "luck" he will get through the whole race without the pain causing him to slow down. That is what the trainer is after.

    I don't agree with PETA on most issues, but this one I could get behind 100%!

    Ok, I've done my rant and I hope I didn't offend anyone. Bet you all thought dogs were my only passion!!


    [This Message was Edited on 05/05/2008]
  6. bigmama2

    bigmama2 New Member

    seems like the whole sport/industry of horse racing is inhumane. just like greyound racing. its all about the money/glory for the humans. SICK.

  7. morningsonshine

    morningsonshine New Member

    I'm in full agreement with what you said here and Kathleen. These horses are just babys.

    I love horse racing, but, because i'm aware of all these things you mentioned, (these horses are just babies, not done growing) I can no longer enjoy it.

    The game rules need to be revivsed to also suit the horses needs.

    Racing in are earlier history was different. Now days in our instamatic would, no one wants to wait until the horse is 4 years old.
    The same problem exists with quarter horses, and what they call furturity babies,

    In order to qualify as two years old they are pushed way to soon and fast.
    Breaking down.
    A quarter horse baby can physically looks so strong and bulked up at two. However they are just babies like a 13 year old, lots of cartilegde still forming into bone.

    Do you know the very last bones to mature in a horse are in the back, the withers. Many "ol timers' never even started breaking a horse out until it was 4 years old.

    Including the famous Spanish Dressage school horses, in fact they may still be waiting.

    Those horse can't safely perform those high school manuvores, until physically prepared for it.

    Okay, that's my piece!!

    [This Message was Edited on 05/05/2008]