June 05, 2006

English Derby Tragedy: For the second time in as many weeks, tragedy overshadowed triumph in one of the world's greatest races. Once again, pre-race health is questioned.

posted by SummersEve to other at 06:32 AM - 6 comments

Saddens me to see no comments here. I don't follow horse racing, though growing up in England with on TV regularly, it was hard not to develop some level of fondness for it. Very sad to read this. Didn't understand some of it (what the fuck is a "snaff"?), but it makes for sad reading.:( Rest in peace, Horatio...

posted by Drood at 04:38 PM on June 05

I don't know what a snaff is either. I grew up watching the racing on Grandstand, normally with my drunken grandad who would win my pocket money off me. Having said that, horse dies at race meeting is hardly an unusual story. 30 horses have died on Grand National weekend at Aintree since 1997.

posted by squealy at 05:55 PM on June 05

I have no idea what the snaff is either, but I agree that it's very sad. As the article says, it's unlikely that trainer or owner greed played any part because the horse would have been worth millions in stud fees. It's just part of the sport. It was a fantastic race, though, and the Derby is great. There aren't many sporting events that have been around for 226 years!

posted by afx237vi at 05:58 PM on June 05

226 years? Holy cow! And to think I watch auto racing which only has a history of 100 years:) I think the thing that bugs me with horse racing is that the jockey chooses to be there. The horse doesn't. And I'm amazed that, in the 21st century, especially with that horrifying Grand National statistic, they've not figured out how to "fix" injuries like this on horses yet.

posted by Drood at 10:58 PM on June 05

Horses, for all their size, are incredibly fragile. Just look at those skinny little legs. And when they break they are very difficult to fix. Not only that but often the horse will damage other legs while resting the broken one, or get an infection. It's sad, but often the best option is for the animal to be put down. The Grand National is over jumps, which makes it a lot more dangerous, both for horse and jockey. But to balance that you have the fact that the horse has a longer career. Most flat horses are out of a job after one or two seasons.

posted by Fence at 03:38 AM on June 06

It's sad, but it's a fact of racing, that horses die - I don't think it's necessarily any more sad because it was a very good horse. "I don't even think the horses know that they're racing. Do they ? I mean, are they walking back to the stable afterwards, going "I was third", "I was fifth", "I was ninth" ? "You cut me off, watch that". "I'll kick your ass next time". "I think more likely, they're thinking, (singing) "oat bag, I get my oat bag now. Oat bag time for me". I mean, the horses have some idea that the jockey is in a hurry. I mean, he's on him, he's urging him, he's hitting him, "come on, come on", you know, so, "this is important that I get somewhere for this guy, quick", but they must get to the end and go (breathing deeply) "we were just here, what was the point of that ?! This is where we were ! That was the longest possible route you could take to get where you wanted to be ! Why don't we just stay here, I would've been first !" "I'll tell you one thing the horses definitely do not know, they do not know if you should accidentally trip and break your leg, at any point during the race, we're gonna blow your brains out. I think they're missing that little tidbit of information. If they knew that, you'd see some mighty careful stepping coming down that home stretch. "Easy, fellas, easy. You win, I'll place, whatever it is. It's all the same oat bag, fellas. The important thing is your health"."

posted by JJ at 07:28 AM on June 06

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