Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Race of a Lifetime

I cannot express the grief I feel about the sudden and unexpected death of Kentucky Derby runner-up Eight Belles.

She was the chick.

Filly Eight Belles got her chance to run with the big boys, and run she did. Pulling out all the stops and giving outright favorite and eventual winner Big Brown a literal run for the money.

Eight Belles was the only one out of the remaining 19 to contend with the massive feat of agricultural engineering that was Big Brown. She had the heart, the determination and the drive.

But as fate would have it, the ol' girl crushed both of her front ankles immediately after she crossed the finish line.

Equine crews had to euthanize her right on the field, wheeling in massive trucks to block the horrific scene from the crowd of 157,770 frenzied racing fans.

Eight Belles literally ran the race of her life - a magnificent finish to the three-year-old's brief career in The Sport of Kings.

She was the first filly to run for the roses since 1999. The exclusive venue is known as an old boys' club - a club made of four-legged members whose strides are the result of precise breeding. But Eight Belles had Derby-winning blood running in her veins - grandpa Unbridled and great-grandpa Northern Dancer.

This lady had the pedigree to really give things a go.

The Women's Lib movement is apparently not exclusive to us humans. Eight Belle's trainers pumped their athlete up with encouraging talks - think Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better - trying to motivate their horse for the big show. It was her first face off with the men, and it would be the last.

Try as she might, it was not meant to be for Eight Belles.

She came in second behind a magnificent piece of muscle and legs. Big Brown was the outright winner furlongs before the finish.

But, for Eight Belles, second place means she will be remembered as a champion by so many.

1 comment:

Chris F. said...

I saw it on TV and immediately thought of Barbaro. Unfortunately, it seems there was no chance at all to save Eight Belles.

Some people and media outlets are now saying it happened because of unethical behavior. Maybe and maybe not. They usually have agendas and need tragedies to boost up those agendas.