Kentucky Derby Horse euthanized after race.

Did you gys see the Kentucky Derby.
Eight Belles? I think was the name, broke both of her front ankles right after the race. The vets immediately had to put her down.
I’ll post a link as soon as I find one.

I can’t stand watching these horses die as the result of a race. As much as I love the Derby, this kind of thing is realy difficult to watch.

It was definitely Eight Belles. She finished 2nd in the race, then evidently collapsed afterwards.

It was such a bizarre injury. She finished the race so fierce and then immediately after the race, while she was slowing down, she broke both front ankles all at once. A crying shame definitely.

Is it really that common? I’ve never heard of that happening before (at least not to the degree where it’s something that I feel happens too often.)

It isn’t that common, and it’s the first time I’ve seen it happen in many years of watching races. It seems to be paet of an unfortunate string of events that started with Barbaro breaking a cannon bone last year, and I hope this is the end of the string. Race horses are delicately built, not like clydesdales or even a normal, everyday horse, and it is easier for them to sustain injuries.


That was really sad…but I don’t understand how it happened. Did she finish with the injury? I saw her making a push to overtake Big Brown toward the end of the race, then she seemed to back down. Great horse, sad story, and this seems to be happening a lot more (remember Barbero?).

EnrightIt happens. I’ve been watching racing for thirty years and I’ve seen a dozen or so horses need to be put down. I’ve read about many others. I wouldn’t say it’s common but it’s always a possibility.

Horses are a lot more delicate than they look, in some ways. The stress on their leg bones is enormous and the leg bones themselves are complicated around the ankle joint. Also keep in mind that horses need to be able to stand squarely on all four feet or their circulation breaks down. If they’re favoring a foot and keeping the weight off it, they’re hooves swell up in a condition called laminitis. So you can’t just keep them lying down or put them in a cast to heal. If the horse is in pain and limping, there’s nothing much that can save it.

Another horse broke a leg earlier today at Churchill in a previous race. They’re going to try repairing it but they don’t know if it will work. It’s a break similar to Barbaro’s in 2006 but not nearly as extensive. Just being compared to Barbaro’s break is discouraging since Barbaro didn’t make it either although he tried for months.

Hilarity, I think it was just bad luck. It happened after she crossed the finish line. She seems to have just tripped a little and that was that. Nobody saw it coming and I’m not even sure if a camera caught it.

It really isn’t that common, especially an injury this devastating. They haven’t really said what made her go down.

I wonder if they’ll use this to push Churchill to go Polytrack. (One of the stated benefits of synthetic track is that it’s safer for the horses, and most tracks are going that way, but all of the Triple Crown tracks still run on real dirt.)

As they just said on the news, thoroughbreds are million dollar animals on ten cent legs.

Ain’t that the crying truth, DoctorJ? I wouldn’t be surprised if the Triple Crown tracks are the last to switch, but getting polytrack down at Keeneland and Arlington is a big step in getting people used to the idea.

The jockey, Gabriel Saez, is now saying that Eight Belles didn’t take a bad step, he just heard the bone pop as they crossed the line. He says he tried to pull her up but it sounds like he couldn’t do it fast enough to prevent her breaking the other leg too.

Is that true? Synthetic turf is worse for humans than dirt and grass.

Wow. What a sad turn of events. :frowning:

I watched the race several times after it happened, and the horse looked fine through the finish. One camera angle showed her going down, but the camera was focused on the winner, so it was just barely in the frame.

It is sad. It was also so quick: When the reporter talked to the track vet about five minutes after it happened, the vet said the horse had already been euthanized. There were wo compound fractures and that’s all you can do.

Not as sad to me as watching Ruffian go down, but still a horrific moment.

This was a serious WTF?! moment. Breakdowns are not a common occurrence, and when they do happen, they tend to be in lower-end races with cheaper, more drugged, more overraced, more disregarded horses. (I gotta start digging up some cites, I know; treat it as IMHO with the O based on decades of horse racing fandom.) Even then, breakdowns nearly ALWAYS happen during a race. After the race?! Are you fucking kidding me?! And BOTH ankles?! WTF!

Replay shows the filly definitely breaking one ankle, starting to fall, and breaking the other ankle in her scramble to right herself. Shit. Poor baby.

I’m more pissed than heartbroken. Barbaro broke my heart (FTR, Vlad/Igor, he shattered his pastern–as well as his sesamoid–his cannon, though fractured, was the least of his injuries, if you can believe it), and this just pissed me off. I’m sick of seeing this, but it just seems a statistical anomaly. I hope. We go years without incident, then all of a sudden we have Barbaro–who really shined a spotlight on racing injuries–and now Eight Belles. I am grateful for the Barbaro experience as there was extensive research and essentially experimentation with the treatment of laminitis (the condition that ultimately felled him, and BTW was Secretariat’s ultimate undoing at the rather young age of 19). We were able to do so much more for him that Ruffian, but that disease still was the ass kicker. He was almost ready to go home. :frowning:

I am grateful as my nearly worthless minature pony mare developed the same disease while pregnant with her previous owner. She lost the baby, and nearly lost her life. She’s on a lifetime of medication and carefully controlled diet (much to her chagrin), but thanks to the New Bolton Center, there is more known about what kills invaluable racehorses–as well as backyard pets.

In a WTF? correlation/coincidence, the European horse George Washington broke down just past the wire in last year’s Classic–but that was just past the wire, not halfway around the track during cooldown. I thought maybe Eight Belles was overheated, or that she’s had an aneurysm…when I’m seen horses collapse post-race, that’s the typical reason why.

I hope Churchill Downs gets over itself and installs a synthetic track. Frank, synthetic racetracks aren’t like astroturf–they’re a specially treated dirt/substance over a cushioned track. The surface doesn’t get sticky or slick like dirt does when wet, and isn’t hard as pavement when dry. California racing law required all tracks to install them this year; it has had a huge impact on racing times (much faster) and injury rates (much lower). I was shocked Churchill Downs was still dirt–it has a rep of being a hard track anyway, and 20 stampeding horses on that?? Eek.

That’s another thing. The field needs to be cut down to the typical racetrack maximum of 14 entries. 20 is fucking insane. DeathLlama and I were cringing watching the first turn–horses were running into and up on each other, and jocks were standing in the stirrups and yanking their mounts heads up just to get them out of immediate danger. Crrrrap, it was scary looking.

Still, getting the oldest sporting event in America to make any changes is painstakingly slow. I hope these high-profile breakdowns in recent years get the industry to make changes.

Dunno if any of these could save Barbara or Eight Belles…but maybe it would save others. (Including, watching that first turn, the jockeys.)

Sorry for the rambling…apparently I needed to vent about this.

Gonna go hug my 20yro mare now.

Daily Racing Form article. She went down at the 6-furlong pole, a quarter mile past the finish line, so it wasn’t the race itself that killed her.

“Condylar fractures in both front ankles” means the distal end of the canon bone, the second bone up. It was probable both were compound. It seemed for a while we couldn’t get through a Breeder’s Cup day without at least one breakdown. That’s been quiet for a while so now it’s the Triple Crown races that seem to have picked it up.

From the Daily Racing Form article here:

That last line is noteworthy–this guy has been the on-track vet for major racing events (and minor ones) for years. He echoes what has stunned so many of us longtime fans–this just doesn’t happen. :frowning:

The trainer really loved this filly; my friends in the horse community all speak highly of him and the true affection he had for this filly (and all his horses). Another DRF article described Jones’s heartbreak:

I don’t particularly care how often this exact injury happens. People seem to think my post implies that I thought two-broken-ankle injuries after the race is over are commonplace. I just meant that I’ve gotten a bit tired of seeing horses die for whatever reason.

My friend is studying to be a vet, and specializing in large animals; horses are his special interest. He said that a big problem in Finland with harness-racing horses is that they sometimes get started on the track too early, before their leg bones have had a chance to develop fully, and that they then develop problems with their legs at a fairly early age. Is there a similar problem with racing horses in the States? At what age do they get started under saddle? Could this have had some effect on what happened to Eight Belles?

Um…my post was not in the least a response to yours, and I didn’t take your post to mean anything more than what you said–and I agree with you.

My post was simply added because I saw those two articles this morning and wanted to share what I found noteworthy, and quoting the freakish nature of the injury was just me sharing how stunned I am (and the horse racing world is) that it happened.

This has been a rough week in the horse sports–two three-day-eventers were killed in accidents at the Rolex championships. Yeesh.