I liked the looks of her. She was proud... full of spirit.
It was a match race at Belmont Park, and for those that love horses it was a "must watch".
I was at a party. We were all supposed to choose a horse and throw $10 into a pot. Those that picked the winning horse would win/share the money.
Fillies are normally at a disadvantage against the larger, stronger males, but this filly had proven up to the task against lots of stallions. I was one of a minority of partiers willing to take a chance on her.
Her name was Ruffian. She hit her shoulder pretty heavily leaving the gate and favored it for the first part of the race but nevertheless led. She was still in front by a head when her right leg broke. That's when her spirit became a disadvantage.
She was quickly euthanized.
Today Sara Jean called while I was at work...
"They're gettin' ready to run the Kentucky Derby. Which horse ya pickin'?"
"Is there a filly in the field?"
"Yep... as a matter of fact there are two."
"I'll take the one with the shortest name." (Some horse expert I am, right?)
In a little while my cell phone rang...
"I have good news and bad news. She came in second. But she broke both front legs and they had to put her down."
My job exposes me to too much tragedy and I have to be stoic about it. It's gotten to be more than I can handle at times. Many times the strangest, slightest things will reduce me to tears. Today the death of "Eight Belles" made me a blubbering fool in front of friends.
Two years ago, Barbaro looked like he was gonna beat the odds. News reports got my hopes up for a year or so, but it just wasn't to be.
So it's a sad list...
Ruffian, Barbaro, and now Eight Belles.
It makes me wonder...
Will public opinion of thoroughbred racing force them to do something to reduce the number of these injuries? I know just enough about the sport to be dangerous, but I'm tired of being "punked" when these beautiful equine athletes have to be euthanized.
If the trend continues, I'll have to quit watching horse racing in order to quit looking like an emotional basket-case.