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Monday, May 05, 2008

Eight Belles

I was so busy worrying about my own life, that I didn't mention the Kentucky Derby at all. In fact, I went back and looked at old posts, and I never even got around to mentioning Barbaro when that happened almost two years ago.

If you're new here, you might not know that I come from a racing family. My grandfather on my dad's side was a horse trader. My dad and his brothers have been owners and trainers of race horses since before I was born. In fact, I had a race horse named after me almost 32 years ago... My mother's father was involved with harness racing, and two of her sisters owned some very successful horses several years ago.

I don't miss the Derby. I keep saying I'll go to Louisville for it. Maybe next year. This year I watched it in my house all by myself because I've been tired and in a bad mood for days now. I didn't have a favorite until the post parade, which is a little strange for someone who usually studies up on the horses for days. There was just no time.

The minute I saw Eight Belles, I knew. She was huge for a filly, and she would keep up with these boys. And she did. She came in second place. She didn't look like she was hurting at any point in the race.

That's why I was very surprised when I saw her lying on the track afterward. She broke both of her ankles, and they euthanized her on the track. And for the first time since Josh Radosevich died in 2005, I cried over a horse race.

Lately I spend a lot of time wondering if things are worth it. I've walked away from relationships after realizing perhaps they weren't worth it. I have debated one thing or another as to whether they were worth it in this economy.

I wonder if the owners of Eight Belles think it was worth it. Yes, they came in second at the grandest competition in horse racing, and they won $400,000. But their prized filly is gone. I know for most horsemen, especially today, this is a business. Maybe it's just the mood I'm in, but I'm just not sure it was worth it.

Of course, now PETA is bitching and moaning how barbaric horse racing is. It's funny. No one bitches and moans about fighting or football being barbaric. Race horses are amazing athletes. If you'd ever watched a really good one train, you'd see that they are better than Shaq, Brett Favre or whatever famous human athlete you care to name. The only difference is that when Brett Favre retired he didn't get to go hang out in a pasture and have sex with fillies all day long, and when Shaq gets hurt the team doctor doesn't put him down.

Speaking of great race horses, Big Brown ran like a Triple Crown Winner last week. The first time I've seen that in years.

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