Wednesday, May 07, 2008

R.I.P. Eight Belles

Most people who know me, know I’m really into horses. Well, maybe a lot of people don’t, since I’ve been on horse hiatus for some time. Anyhow, I’ve always had a sort of love/hate feeling towards horse racing. I love the horses, but there’s a lot about the “sport” (business) that I hate.

I grew up going to Bay Meadows. The newspaper always had the racing program for each day and I’d make my picks and then follow up by watching “A Day at the Races” to see how well I did.

So it follows that I still watch the Triple Crown races every year, at least when I remember they’re on. I pretty much had nothing to do last Saturday and the Kentucky Derby was on, so I set the DVR to record it, pre-show and all, went grocery shopping and came home to watch. I even got Davey in on the watching. He looked in the paper to make his “pick.” Horse racing is pretty much the only horse event I seem to be able to get him a little interested in. He has sat through his share of “dancing horses” on my account. He’s also come to a few horse shows I rode in, and those have to be the most boring of all. It must be the wagering aspect that makes it more appealing.

NBC had this horrible “red carpet” show before the race. I really don’t care which B (now that I think about it, more like C) list celebrity went to Churchill Downs to wear a stupid looking hat and drink nasty mint juleps. It was really horrible.

After the “red carpet” show, the actual coverage started and usually they have some taped pieces on some of the favorite or notable horses. Not so much this year. They mostly focused on one of the jockeys (who ended up winning) and an obnoxious sounding trainer (he won too). There wasn’t as much focus on the horses. Lame.

So, I can tell Davey kind of wants me to pick one. I liked the name of the one he picked. Colonel...John? I can’t remember and I’m too lazy to look it up. Then I saw a filly was running. And she was big, 17 hands. She also had a pretty good (undefeated?) record as a 3 year old. So, Eight Belles it was.

My point in all of this description is that I was having a fun afternoon, watching horses. Davey actually seemed like he wanted to watch it with me. I even had a swig of his beer (shame on me). I found a good horse to root for and it was just a nice day, all around.

When they were putting the horses in the gate, I had the thought “please don’t let any horses break down.” Seriously. I think a lot of people think it doesn’t happen a lot, but it does. Anyhow, the thought came and then drifted off as the race started.

Then the race was over, the favorite one. The filly, Eight Belles came in second, which was pretty cool and everyone appeared to have a safe trip. By this time I had my girls out watching too, trying to get them into it.

I didn’t actually see her go down on the broadcast (I saw it later) but I saw the winner spook and dump his jockey as they went by her. I did see two vans/horse ambulances. I told Davey, “uh-oh, that’s not good.” The commentator mentioned she was laying on the track. I kept hoping they were somehow making her stay down, but when a horse is down on a track it’s never good.

The NBC coverage switches back to focusing on the winner until they can talk to one of the vets who reveals that they put her down with both of her front legs broken. I know pregnancy hormones played a part in this, but I completely lost it. I had to leave the room because I didn’t want to upset my kids, who remained oblivious. It was kind of strange, how much it upset me.

Basically, a 3 year old horse isn’t even completely done growing. They start racing them at 2. I should mention that Thoroughbreds are all given the same “birthday.” I can’t remember the rules off the top of my head, but it works out kind of like grades in school. You need to be born in a certain bracket of time to be eligible for Kindergarten, it’s not based on your exact age.

There’s a really good documentary about horse racing. It might be called “Jockey” or something like that. It focuses on jockies, but there’s a lot about horses “breaking down” (basically snapping a leg in the middle of a race). It’s hard to watch.

I told myself I was going to keep the horse racing bit to a paragraph, but now you see what happens if I start going into “horse talk.”

I had some other stuff. I went to Target yesterday to get some birthday cards. Is everyone born in May? Why are there so many cards with fart humor? I was astonished. It seemed like every other birthday card had some sort of fart joke on it. If you go to buy a Mother’s Day card this week, check out the birthday cards and see what you think.

As soon as Davey puts the video up, I should have a link to Roan’s first performance in a play called “What’s Missing.” She had the role of Cat 3. I’ll write about that next time. I have to get the girls ready to go to the library/park.


At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

aww, I think it might just be mommy hormones in general. I broke down just reading about it. I read that the jockey was trying to stop Eight Belles, he heard the first pop, and really tried to rein her in, but she kept going, poor girl.

I just lost it at the computer. Beanie was all "shush, mommy, s'okay, you're okay..." while patting my legs and giving my knees lots of kisses. She asked me why I was sad and I said a beautiful horse got bad booboos. She totally got it, I think.


Post a Comment

<< Home