Kentucky Derby - anyone watching? favorites?

  1. Yay Big Brown!!! Wasn't he AMAZING??? I am very hopeful for another sublime performance on Preakness day!

    I'm very sad about Eight Belles. But I want everyone to know that horses don't suffer any more or less injuries than any other athlete; human or animal. The unfortunate part of serious injuries to the equine is their physiology does not allow for 'bed rest'. I'm not in any way downplaying the death of Eight Belles (or any other race horse) .... it is tragic and awful. But I've spent a great deal of my life around these horses and they are honestly, truly happiest when they are running. It just takes one misstep to cause an injury like hers... and, believe me, her connections will take no pleasure in her loss. They will cry when her empty stall is prepped for a new tenant. It doesn't matter if it's a $5,000 claimer or the 2nd place finisher in the Derby all of us in and around and in love with these horses feel it and hate that it's part of the game.

    Calling the purses 'blood money' is not only ridiculous but insulting to the people who work feverishly, day and night, tending these gallant and passionate athletes.

    If a marathon runner or a racing greyhound or a hockey player or a football player have a horrific injury, they have surgery and they lay down for a long time to get well. Horses just can't do that.

    My heartfelt condolences to Fox Hill Farms, Larry Jones, and Gabriel Saez. She was a beautiful filly. Thank you for sharing her with us.

    Last, it's disturbing to me that when we have record setting races like the Breeders Cup last year and the year before and the year before and everyone comes home safe and eats their hay not one naysayer utters a congratulatory whisper. One televised injury and everyone who ever thought of a race horse is suddenly an evil, hateful person cheering for death and destruction. Give me a break.
  2. I live right by the Del Mar race track and constantly hear stories of horses being put down during race season. I would say on average 2-3 horses are put down per season.

    My cousin went last year on opening day and a horse was put down. She said they could hear the horse because it was in so much pain. Then they euthanized and just dragged it into a trailer in front of the audience. She said the rest of the day everyone was in shock still from seeing it.

    Humans have a choice to do sports, horses don't. Sorry I just don't agree with it especially growing up with horses as a child.

    They should test these horses for illegal substances and penalize the owners/trainers.
  3. ^^ ITA!!! :hysteric:

  4. They do and there are. The industry is working very, very hard on keeping the babes clean.

    Wait, in your post in the Animals section regarding this same subject you said you have nothing against riding, jumping, showing, etc. How does non-racing horseback riding and/or sport = the horse is a more willing participant?
  5. Voodoo, I agree that it only takes one misstep to cause an injury. If we look at a slow motion replay of a horse in full flight, we see that from the knee down it looks somewhat like a ball on the end of a chain, waivering around until the hoof hits the ground. Pretty scary to see and that coupled with the immaturity factor can only mean trouble. I do wish that these horses were given more time and not broken in and raced so early. I don't think that all horses are at their happiest when they're racing, some maybe, but some hate it and have to be forced into the barriers. Here in Australia, some jockeys are absolutely vicious with the whip and even though the horse is giving everything it has, the whip is brought down again and again, and I doubt that there is a horse in the world that would enjoy that.
  6. Voodoo, I am sorry if I offended, but my opinion is just as valid as yours.

    My main point with your statements is just what Schmodi said - horses do not have a choice. They may "live to" fast, even...but that is possible in the wild with no human digging in their heels. I do not doubt that most racehorse owners love their animals and treat them well, but I just don't agree with the principle of the thing.

    Perhaps this thread should be merged with the same topic in Animalicious.
  7. Maybe participation isn't the best word, but it's the degree of extremity. I'm ok with dog shows, but not dog fights. Now horse aren't fighting each other to the death, but I still think it boarders on animal cruelty.
  8. ^^ simply because non-racing horseback riding isn't likely to cause fatal injuries to the horse...i rode english saddle for years & never saw any horses get hurt...maybe i was just lucky & maybe if i had seen horses get hurt during traditional riding/showing/jumping my opinion of that would change...but these young racing horses are pushed & pushed & pushed until they break...and it's all for sport so that they can make lots of $$$ for their owners & whoever bets on them that day....take financial gain out of the equation & there would be no horse is what raises the stakes for these horses & why their performance on the track is sometimes "do or die"...and that's why i have a problem with the fact they don't have a's humans who choose to race them & decide to put them at risk...i wonder if those same humans would be willing to risk their own lives for sport & to turn a profit (?) :shrugs:
  9. I never suggested they were not. I addressed your statement regarding the race horse and substance abuse.
  10. This is such a broad statement it could be applied to anything. Horse racing is a business. It's a multi-billion dollar a year industry involving breeders, trainers, manufacturers, feed supply corporations, veterinarians, jockeys, grooms, and the list goes on. Almost all of these people are professional horsemen who eat, sleep, and breathe these horses. The betterment of the breed and the production of fine, sound champions is their goal.

    I'm not saying there aren't crooks. There are. Every type of business has them. But to state broadly that if not for money people wouldn't do this is not justification for stating the entire industry is "bad".

    I again is tragic, the loss of Eight Belles. It's tragic when we lose a single horse on the track. I'm not making any attempt to change any one's mind about any personal belief they have about horse racing. But I find that most people have sudden knee-jerk reactions that create broad generalizations in the face of tragedy.

    I will call to note.......... this entire thread is now about poor Eight Belles.

    Not one 'how horrid' person has made mention of the amazing performance of Big Brown. His ability to overcome the extreme outside post, stay in a clear stalking path and then burst off the far turn clearly the best of the pack. THAT is horse racing, too!
  11. I think because Big Brown is fine and resting in his stable and Eight Belles gave HER LIFE in this race is why people are talking about it. He has and will continue to have his glory, but I do not understand why horses "don't have the "physiology" for bed rest, could someone please explain it to me? And yes I'm serious, I haven't been around horses much and don't understand why they can't recover that way. We had an animal that was hurt at our zoo a few years ago and they put her up in a harness so she could stand while she healed.
  12. Horses cannot stay off their feet for extended periods of time because their internal organs are not meant for extended recumbency. This is why they can sleep on their feet. They can, and will, lay down to rest but never for very long.

    In order for a broken bone to heal an extended period of time is needed, usually without extensive weight bearing. This is also a huge problem for the horse. They need all four feet under them bearing weight equally. Lameness in a leg results in the horse favoring it and this, in turn, puts more pressure on the other limbs. Extended periods of additional pressure can, and does, result in laminitis which is worse than the original injury. (Barbaro had to be put down due to laminitis, not because of his original injury, which was healed).

    Imagine the inside of a horses hoof as if it were lined w/ velcro. This is basically what laminae are... they hold fast the internal structure of the horses hoof. Undue extended pressure causes an interruption in the bloodflow to the laminae and a breakdown in this structure which in turn causes the inside of the hoof to deteriorate and die.

    There is no cure for laminitis and it's horribly painful to horses afflicted with it.

    (Disclaimer: I'm not a vet...just a person who has been involved w/ horses all my life and I know this info from equine veterinarians.)
  13. Industrial gain has already been taken out of the equation since machines can do many times the work horses used to do at much less expense. You have very limited parts of the country where wild horses run free, just like the buffalo the terrain has been taken away by development. All you have left is recreation and competition. Take financial gain out of the equation and the only use left for horses is hippophagy. Is that what you would prefer to seeing these young horses pushed for the sake of sport?
  14. Here is an answer an from an equine veterinarian that was posted in The Slate after Barbaro was injurered. Hope it helps clear things up.

    Barbaro's veterinarians say the champion racehorse has a 50 percent chance of survival after breaking his leg at the start of the Preakness. He may not recover even after a successful five-hour surgery on Sunday, during which he had almost two dozen screws implanted to stabilize his bones. Why is a broken leg so dangerous for a horse?
    There's a high risk of infection, and the horse may not sit still long enough for the bone to heal. Infections are most likely when the animal suffers a compound fracture, in which the bones tear through the skin of the leg. In this case, dirt from the track will grind into and contaminate the wound. To make matters worse, there isn't much blood circulation in the lower part of a horse's leg. (There's very little muscle, either.) A nasty break below the knee could easily destroy these fragile vessels and deprive the animal of its full immune response at the site of the injury.
    Barbaro was lucky enough (or smart enough) to pull up after breaking his leg. If he'd kept running—as some horses do—he might have driven sharp bits of bone into his soft tissue and torn open the skin of his leg. Though his skin remained intact, he still faces the possibility of infection; any soft-tissue damage at all can cut off blood flow and create a safe haven for bacteria.
    It's not easy to treat a horse with antibiotics, either. Since the animals are so big, you have to pump in lots of drugs to get the necessary effect. But if you use too many antibiotics, you'll destroy the natural flora of its intestinal tract, which can lead to life-threatening, infectious diarrhea. You also have to worry about how the antibiotics will interact with large doses of painkillers, which can themselves cause ulcers.If the horse manages to avoid early infection, he might not make it through the recovery. First, he must wake up from anesthesia without reinjuring himself. Doctors revived Barbaro by means of "water recovery." That means they suspended him in a warm swimming pool in a quiet room and then kept him there for as long as possible. Not all horses are willing to sit around in a sling, and the antsy ones can thrash about and break their limbs all over again. (In 1975, the filly Ruffian managed to break a second, healthy leg in the process.)
    If Barbaro starts favoring his wounded leg post-surgery, he may overload his other legs, causing a condition known as "laminitis." If that happens, the hooves on the other legs will start to separate from the bone, and his weight will be driven into the soft flesh of the feet. He may also develop life-threatening constipation as a side effect of the anesthetic.
    Doctors will often put down a horse that develops a nasty infection, reinjures its broken leg, or develops laminitis in its other hooves. (A horse that's unable to stand will develop nasty sores and can be expected to die a slow and painful death.) A few horses have had broken legs amputated and replaced with metal, but the equine prostheses don't have a great track record.
    Got a question about today's news? Ask the Explainer .
    Explainer thanks Rick Arthur of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and Carl Kirker-Head of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.