After the tragic and unfortunate euthanization of Eight Belles at yesterday’s Kentucky Derby, most people handled it with class and treated it with the solemn respect that a shocking, unexpected event like that deserves. As Bryan the Intern noted so well in his post last night, it is certainly one of the toughest parts of the sport and, unfortunately, NBC decided to pay a lot of attention to a sad part of the horse racing that we luckily don’t see to often, giving people the impression that it is the norm. It was definitely a sad day for everyone associated with horse racing and one that everyone involved with it would like to move on from.
Well, now PETA, an organization that I will politely say is my least favorite special interest group, is calling for the “immediate suspension of jockey Gabriel Saez” and not for the reason that you might think. It seems that PETA is not necessarily offended that the animal had to be put down, but rather that Saez whipped it as it came toward the finish line – and even compared the sport to dogfighting.
They say on their site today:
“This young filly’s death may have been humane, but the race sure wasn’t. PETA is calling for the immediate suspension of jockey Gabriel Saez–who whipped Eight Belles mercilessly as she came down the final stretch, no doubt in agony from two front legs that were about to snap.
While the trainers, jockeys, and owners may weep their crocodile tears today over Eight Belles’ euthanasia, they will be back on the track tomorrow, putting other horses at risk. Thoroughbreds are raced on hard dirt surfaces–like the one at Churchill Downs. Their bones simply can’t take it, as Eight Belles’ two broken front legs showed last night. Despite the wealth associated with thoroughbred racing, for the horses–most of whom end up broken, cast off, or sent to Europe to be killed for the dinner table–it’s a dirty business and no better than dogfighting.”
I might stand alone on this (but I doubt it), but I’d say this is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read. Even for PETA. Dogfighting? You have to be kidding me. Anyone who follows horse racing knows the love that grows between the horses and the jockeys, owners, trainers, etc. and that they would never wish any punishment or harm on the animals. This sounds like it’s coming from a perspective of someone who either doesn’t know the first thing about horse racing or who is just looking to further an agenda. I’d love to know what you think and if you’d like to read the entire piece and let them know your thoughts, here is the full post.