I was watching the Kentucky Derby live, as I try to do every year, and was watching the celebration of Big Brown when the cameras panned off to a horse lying on the ground and I said to my wife that is probably the end of one horse. I have witnessed enough horse racing to know that whichever horse that was, it was most likely the end of that horse's life.
As it turned out it was the runner-up Eight Belles who unfortunately broke both her ankles as she was pulling up after the race. When a horse suffers that sort of injury it is not a recoverable injury and the horse must be put down. Horses have suffered these injuries throughout the history of the sport but recently it has been happening more and more often on the sports biggest stage. Now PETA and other groups are harping on the sport to change their ways or completely stop the sport all together.
I am not unsympathetic to people who want to protect the rights of animals. That being said these animals that are running in these top level races are treated better and taken care of better than a lot of human beings on this planet. What that says for the human beings on this planet is another blog for another day.
This sport has been around a long time and there are times that horses are injured and have to be destroyed. It is an ugly side to the sport but the care for these horses get better and better every year and hopefully with new advances like synthetic tracks we will not see injuries like this in the future.
What happened in Louisville was sad and a tragedy. Hopefully it can be prevented in the future. But the sport should go on.