I Wish I Were In Paris

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sexism And Horses

Sexism has been alive and well since the beginning of time. Now, it's spread to horse racing. It's one thing to be sexist against a person. At least we can stand up, defend ourselves, and fight back. It's a totally different thing to have a sexist attitude and heap that shit upon a defenseless animal, namely a horse.

Eight Belles euthanized on track

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Boy, did Eight Belles hang with the boys.

All that heart and her gallant fight, however, ended in the worst of all possible ways: a breakdown, an ambulance on the track. And, with no other choice, she was euthanized by injection.

The day began with hope and pomp. Bolstered by the sentimental support from 157,770 fans and endorsed by presidential contender Hillary Clinton and cheered by daughter Chelsea, the filly finished second in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

She crossed the wire 4 3/4 lengths behind favorite Big Brown. Then, with the second-largest crowd in Derby history still whooping it up, Eight Belles collapsed with two broken front ankles.

The magnitude of what happened was slow to reach the fans at Churchill Downs. Not only was a horse down, but it was the filly. And horse racing -- with the memory of Barbaro still fresh and the death of a horse coming only a day earlier on Kentucky Oaks Day -- had to confront grief one more time.

"There was no way to save her. She couldn't stand," trainer Larry Jones said. "She ran an incredible race. She ran the race of her life."

Jones' voice broke and tears glistened in his eyes as he considered his barn without Eight Belles' head poking out of her stall.

"Losing animals like this isn't fun. It's not supposed to happen," he said. "We're heartbroke. We're going to miss her, no doubt."

The field of 19 colts and the dark gray filly were galloping out around the first turn when Eight Belles suddenly went down on both front legs and jockey Gabriel Saez slid off.

"When we passed the wire I stood up," said a distraught Saez, a first-time Derby rider. "She started galloping funny. I tried to pull her up. That's when she went down."

An equine ambulance reached her near the second turn.

Eight Belles appeared to be galloping out normally around the first turn and was headed into the start of the backstretch when she dropped without warning. The crowd was busy high-fiving and celebrating and the distance from the grandstand prevented many from realizing what had happened.

"Everyone breathed a big sigh of relief that everyone came around the track cleanly and then all of a sudden it happened," said Dr. Larry Bramlage, on-call veterinarian.

Quickly, word spread about the horse that was down in the second turn. Fans focused binoculars on the scene, using Saez's red helmet to identify the horse.

"That's one of the saddest things I've ever seen," said fan Kathleen Brower of Louisville. "We went from the high for the winner and something like this happens. It just takes the wind out of the sails."

No more so than for Jones and owner Rick Porter.

Eight Belles could have easily been the wagering favorite in Friday's Kentucky Oaks, an all-girl showcase. But Jones and Porter decided to run her against the boys despite the fact that she had never done so before. She had, after all,solid credentials with a four-race winning streak.

Jones won the Oaks with Proud Spell and set himself up to pull off the double.

At first, Jones didn't realize anything was wrong until he began walking back to the stable area and saw Saez aboard another horse.

Reached by cell phone, a somber Porter said simply, "It's not a good time."

Afterward, Jones disputed any suggestion that Eight Belles had no business taking on the boys.

"It wasn't that, it wasn't the distance, it wasn't a big bumping match for her, she never got touched," he said. "She passed all those questions ... with flying colors. The race was over, all we had to do was pull up, come back and be happy. It just didn't happen."

If Eight Belles had labored to the finish line and been falling farther behind Big Brown in the closing strides, then Jones said he would have "really second-guessed ourselves severely and kicked ourselves in the pants."

But she hit the wire strongly and galloped around the turn without a hitch, leaving the trainer in the white cowboy hat feeling proud. Jones also trained last year's runner-up, Hard Spun.

"We were ecstatic," he said.

For a time, anyway.

Part of Eight Belles' appeal was her status as the first filly since 1999 to run in the Derby; the last to win was Winning Colors in 1988.

Hillary Clinton didn't attend the race, but she ordered her daughter to bet the filly. Eight Belles, who went off at 13-1, repaid the fans' faith by returning $10.60and $6.40.

Winning jockey Kent Desormeaux and Big Brown galloped by Eight Belles in her waning moments.

"This horse showed you his heart and Eight Belles showed you her life for our enjoyment today," he said. "I'm deeply sympathetic to that team for their loss."

Bramlage said the fracture in Eight Belles' left front ankle opened the skin, allowing contamination to set in. At least one of her sesamoid bones was broken, too.

"She didn't have a front leg to stand on to be splinted and hauled off in the ambulance, so she was immediately euthanized," he said. "In my years in racing, I have never seen this happen at the end of the race or during the race."

Bramlage was hard-pressed to make sense of yet another breakdown that reminded fans of Barbaro's horrific injury two years ago in the Preakness.

"The difficult thing to explain with her is it's so far after the wire, and she was easing down like you'd like to see a horse slow down by that point," he said. "I don't have an explanation for it."

I watched the Kentucky Derby yesterday. In fact, I watched the pre-show too. All you heard yesterday was about how there was only one female horse in the race, and she was going up against "the boys". They kept talking about how a female horse has only won the Derby three times. It's pretty sad when sexism is brought into a sporting event, and it's aimed at a HORSE.

The most disgusting thing about the whole race was that people actually had the audacity to say that Eight Belles had no business taking on "the boys", and this was said after the horse was dead.

To that, I say FUCK YOU!! That horse deserved to be in the race. She was more than qualified. Hell, if you want to really boil it down, she was more qualified to be in that race than the winner Big Brown. To even suggest that somehow the trainer or the owner of the horse was at fault for the horse's death because they chose to put her up against "the boys" is disgusting and SEXIST.

They say that the horse broke both front ankles. If that's what happened, fine. But, I say that something happened to that horse. The fact of the matter is, they didn't want a female beating THE BOYS. Imagine the HORROR of that reality. If given the chance, Eight Belles could have and quite possibly would have beaten Big Brown in The Preakness or The Belmont. But that will never happen now because the horse is dead.

As for the Big Brown win, I thought it was extremely inappropriate for the trainer and the jockey to be celebrating like raving lunatics (especially the trainer) while a horse was lying dead on the race track. Talk about having no class or respect!! I don't want to hear excuses for them either. You can't tell me that they didn't have any clue that something was wrong. The horse was down. That was obvious. It was disgusting to watch them celebrate!!

While we're on the subject of the trainer for Big Brown, I have one question. Why in the hell is he even allowed to be in horse racing anymore? He should have been banned for life after what he did. We ban athletes for doping scandals. Why should a horse trainer be any different?

And he's been fined or suspended at least once every year since 2000 for doping issues. In 2000, a barn search in New York produced "an injectible vitamin which is forbidden." In '01, a horse had excessive Lasix -- an anti-bleeding medication -- in its system. In '02, Dutrow "failed to follow Lasix procedures." In '03, a horse tested positive for Mepivacaine. From '04 through an '08 fine in Florida, there were citations regarding Lasix, Clenbuterol, Phenylbutazone and Oxyphenbutazone.

He served a 60-day suspension in 2005 after two of his horses tested positive for banned substances and for a claiming violation. Then, in 2007, he served an additional 14-day suspension and was fined $25,000 for violating conditions of his suspension by having contact with his stable.

We're celebrating with a man who has done this? Bullshit!!

"The trouble I've been in shouldn't take anything away from Big Brown," Dutrow said. "I don't see it. I haven't done anything bad around Big Brown ...

"You're here at the Derby. Who would want to do something that isn't right? This is all clean, all good. Anyone who would do something wrong at the Derby, that's not us. That would be despicable.

"We treat the game respectfully."

Wow, what a crock of shit!! We're supposed to take a cheater at his word that he hasn't done anything illegal with Big Brown? Why? Because he's the pillar of truth? He treats the game "respectfully"? Really? If he treats the game respectfully, why has he felt the need to dope his horses? Yeah, that's treating the game respectfully!! That's playing by the rules!! That's being clean!! This guy is full of shit!!

Sadly, a horse that had all the potential in the world to kick the asses of THE BOYS is dead. And, we're left with a slick, classless, disrespectful known CHEATER who shouldn't even be shoveling horse shit let alone be training horses.

I don't want to see a Triple Crown winner this year, especially not this one. This trainer doesn't deserve the glory. I hope another horse kicks ass in The Preakness and The Belmont because Mr. Dutrow deserves to lose.

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  • At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Most trainers are cited or suspended for illegal drug use in their career inclusing leading trainers like Steve Asmussen who trains Curlin. Asmussen was suspended for 6 whole months last year. American horses use more drugs than European horses. Lasix is not even allowed in Europe. That's another reason you see European horses do well first time with Lasix in the States. Regarding sexism, you're incorrect. Rags to Riches won the Belmont Stakes last year beating Curlin (who later went on to win the Breeders Cup classic and Dubai World cup and is close to 10 Million dollars in earnings). Everyone in the media praised Rags to Riches as she derved it. Hopefully this information is helpful to you. Just chill out and relax and let's hope Big Brown can win the Triple crown. Cheers :)

  • At 5:44 AM, Blogger ParisL0ve2 said…

    Excuse me? I'm not incorrect. They were being sexist all day long on Saturday. They didn't want a female horse beating "The Boys". They were constantly talking about how they didn't know if she could compete with "The Boys" because she was a female horse. When you question the ability of someone or something based on their gender, that is SEXIST.

    Like I said, this trainer should be banned for LIFE. If an athlete is banned for life for doping, a trainer who dopes horses should be banned for LIFE. I do love your reasoning, WELL EVERYONE DOES IT. It doesn't make it okay because everyone does it. Hey, I know!! Why don't all the murderers out there use that excuse!! Then, let's see if they're found not guilty by reason that everyone does it!!

    I'm not going to chill out and relax. I'm not going to root for a Triple Crown winner either because this son of a bitch trainer doesn't deserve the glory. He deserves a fucking jail cell for the shit he's done. The owners don't deserve the glory either, especially considering that they don't give a damn what the hell this trainer has done. It's "not a concern for them". Well, it damn well should be!!

    I want another horse to kick Big Brown's ass in the next two races. And I can't wait to see it happen!! Better yet, I hope that Big Brown wins it all. Then I hope you find out that this trainer doped this horse, and everyone loses every fucking penny that the horse won them. It would serve these sons of bitches right!! After all, he says that he didn't do anything illegal with this horse. And we're supposed to believe him because he's the fucking pillar of truth? Yeah right!!


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