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Article:Derby marred by death of Eight Belles

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Imagine you have a family pet that is sick. That pet, be it dog or cat, has been a part of the family for as long as you can remember. Loyal, kind, trustworthy, keeper of secrets. You take the pet to the vet. The vet tells you that your companion, your friend is dying and there's nothing you can do about it. In fact, the vet says that your pet will have to be put down.

Today in Louisville, at the Kentucky Derby, that happened on the famed Churchill Downs track as filly Eight Belles made a valiant effort to win the roses. It was not to be for her, as the favorite Big Brown pulled away from the field and took home top honors. While Big Brown was getting acolades, there on the track lay Eight Belles, who had broken both front ankles. Fortunately, NBC did not show her down but there were reports of the same. A few minutes later, it was confirmed that Eight Belles was put down, humanely.

Now some groups like PETA will argue until they are as blue as the grass in Kentucky that horse racing is not humane. On the contrary. These animals get the best care possible, consideirng the ammount of money that the owners spend on vet bills, grooming, paying jockeys and trainers, stud fees, et al. Then you have the people that bet on these animals. This was the first tragedy on the track with regard to a horse being injured since Barbaro two years ago at the Belmont Stakes. Yes, this was a tragedy. But trainers, owners, jockeys and veternarians can learn from this to make things for the animals better. The move to put Eight Belles down was not only the right thing as well as humane, it was the only thing they could do. At least she's no longer suffering.

The doctors there got it right. For that, they get my praise and a round of applause. Now it's on to Baltimore in two weeks. Jockey Gabriel Saez and owner Larry Jones have heavy hearts tonight, as do the supporters and fans of Eight Belles. They can at least sleep and be solaced that Eight Belles fought the good fight and lost.

But she did not suffer.

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