I pit NBC's coverage of the Kentucky Derby in the wake of Eight Belles' death

Frankly I am flabbergasted. Bob Costas alludes to her death in his intro before the trophy presentation, and then the subject of her death is completely dropped. We hear of her being euthanized, and then cut to a scene of everybody in Big Brown’s entourage jumping up and down and screaming. Yeah they may not have gotten word yet but NBC sure did.

Imagine the 2001 Daytona 500, and we all get confirmation of Dale Sr.'s death before the winning car* enters Victory Lane, and everybody just pretends that it didn’t happen and they all scream and yell in elation and the network interviews the winner, while Dale Sr. is growing cold in his tarp-draped metal coffin, forgotten.

An actual precedent is the 1955 Le Mans disaster where 8 hours in a driver loses control and plows into a crowd killing himself and 80 other people; the winners were all hyper-like in victory and many observers found that to be in extremely bad taste. And unlike a race car driver a horse doesn’t really have the choice to risk death (and many thoroughbreds indeed die each year in races big and small).

Suffice it to say I will not be watching any more Triple Crown races on NBC in well never.

[*Yeah the actual winner, Michael Waltrip, was a driver for Dale Sr.'s race team, and I remember him expressing some concern during his winner’s interview.]

Just out of curiosity - can anyone offer a rough estimate of how many horses die annually during their racing careers*? Obviously I can remember a couple big names, like Ruffian, or that horse last year (or so) that broke its leg, but since I pay little attention to any kind of racing I hadn’t thought much about the implications.
*I’m wording it that way to try to include deaths from travel stresses, as well as misadventure on the track, itself. Because without racing the horse would not likely have been traveling, after all.

First of all, it’s a horse, not a human being. It is unreasonable to expect people to get as worked up about the death of a horse as you would like them to. I mean, come on - you’re drawing parallels between the death of a horse, and the death of 81 people? Horses are great and all, but they’re not people.

Second, I don’t follow horse racing, but it sure seems like it’s a dangerous event for horses, because of how extremely fragile breeding for races has made them. Maybe you should be upset at the sport as a whole, instead of the single instance of the larger problem?

Well yeah I am of that too. Just the incredible lack of tact and compassion on the part of those involved, even if an animal’s death isn’t the equal of that of a human being. No teary-eyed interviews of her owners as they have to deal with their grief.

I apologize in advance if I broke a spoiler rule here: I hereby give admin permission to spoilerize the title (“I pit NBC’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby after the end of the race”).

Especially if he had taken a bullet in the brain because of two broken ankles.

Fuck you Kentucky. Fuck you Kent Desormeaux. Fuck you Gabriel Saez. I hope you and your trainers, managers, owners, shareholders, families and every little child in the audience all wake up one day with two broken ankles.

Until all humans decide to stop fucking around with this world like it’s full of animate objects we will never progress. Until then, come Armageddon, come.

If the average KD viewer gave a shit about the lives of the horses, they wouldn’t be fans of animal racing in the first place.

Why don’t you come on out to see a horse farm before you start telling us all about what you think is going on. I live 10 miles from the track. Do you?

Just out of curiosity - do you recall the expense, suffering and effort that went into the failed attempt to save the life of the second race horse, Barbaro, I’d mentioned in my first post to this thread?

It is my understanding that for the vast majority of cases broken legs, or ankles, on horses cannot be recovered from. The care is hugely expensive, and has a poor chance of working. And during this time the horse is extremely uncomfortable, unable to exercise, nor can it understand what’s going on.

Euthanasia in such circumstances does not seem unreasonable.

This is what you wanted to see? That would be more respectful?
I’m astonished you’re put off because network coverage was * not * maudlin and sensational for once.

Her team was not available for comment in the immediate aftermath of the race, anyway. They were slightly busy.

His case was laminitis. I own and treat two horses with laminitis. They have survived 3 and 5 years beyond their diagnosis.

I’m voting for whoosh.

Oh you think if you can dole them out you can spot them too? :wink:

I thought Barbaro’s case was laminitis as a complication of a broken leg. Not simply laminitis, but laminitis in three legs by the time the owners and care team chose to euthanize the animal.

Do you disagree with this quote from the article I linked above? (Something I’ve heard time and time again.)

I’m not a horse expert, I freely admit that. But I used to be interested in veterinary medicine, and did a bit of general reading on the subject. Everything that I’d ever read indicated that saving a horse with one broken leg is iffy, at best. From what you and others have said in this thread, Eight Belles had two broken ankles. What else should they have done?
If I got whooshed, forgive me.

Nuked the Derby from orbit, before the race.

Horses don’t need to run for a living. Little child horses like Barbaro and 8 Belles shouldn’t run, competitively, at all.

Barbaro was put down ultimately for humane reasons. As in they’d gathered gallons of his goo and he’d suddenly outweighed his usefulness.

From your link, bolding added: “[Barbaro] is a third-generation descendant of Mr. Prospector, and as such Barbaro is related to many recent Triple Crown hopefuls including Funny Cide, Afleet Alex, Big Brown, Eight Belles, Smarty Jones and Fusaichi Pegasus.”

As the late Hunter Thompson pointed out a few decades back, the Kentucky Derby is decadent and depraved. :slight_smile:

I know million dollar horses are treated much better than greyhounds for example, and live lives of luxury, but still, are forced to do something that often results in their death for the amusement of humans- horse racing isn’t on the level of greyhound racing, bullfighting and dogfighting, to be sure, but still, would that horse be dead if not for the greed of humans? I love animals too, and if I had the money would probably have horses, but wouldn’t engage them in something unnecessary that could cause their death. And I’m sure Michael Vick really loved his top dog, too.

And the argument that horses really love running, fine, but don’t beat them when they aren’t going fast enough.

Laminitis as a complication of a broken leg. His implants were working perfectly, but he didn’t have a sound leg yet in which to fall back after developing laminitis on the others.

And yea, laminitis, depending on the severity of it, can be treated and the animals live for many years… but that is with care and treatment, which (as far as I know) does not include racing. Thoroughbreds that cannot race or be used for breeding are SOL.

What i think is going on is a horse just died for absolutely no fucking reason other than our amusement. Did i miss anything? no, ok then shut the fucking thing down.

I’m not here to see how many fucking angels can dance on the head of a pin. Why was his goddamned fucking leg broken in the first fucking goddamned fucking place?

Enough. Give me one good reason why a horse race should be held or I will [be really mad]. Right fucking now.