A Run For The Roses


The experiences of life can alter our view and principles moving forward from that point. In essence it changes our mind on beliefs we once held, moving to a different perspective that we then adopt.


On May 6, 2017 the Kentucky Derby (known as the ‘Run for the Roses’ in racing circles) ran its 143rd race, a prelude in the quest for the famous Triple Crown. There was a day when I enjoyed watching the races, especially if there was a contender. I clearly remember Secretariat burying the field at the Belmont track, capturing the crown in stunning fashion- as though he were a different animal than the rest of the horses on the field. But my perspective has greatly changed and I no longer find pleasure in the races because of another burying.


The 134th Kentucky Derby was run May 3, 2008. A dark grey filly named Eight Belles ran an excellent race, coming in second (only three fillies have won the Derby) - when the finish line became a true finish for Belles. As her jockey tried to pull her up after the finish line, he heard a ‘pop’ and Belles went down, never to get up again. Suffering compound factures (bone protruding from the skin) of both front ankles left Belles enable to even be taken from the field. So there among the music and celebration of the winning colt, Eight Belles was immediately euthanized on the track; most of the crowd did not even realize she was down, much less killed while the music and cameras rolled on. A horrible indignant end to a beautiful animal, made more so by the celebration that ran in the background.


Over the next few years I would occasionally try to watch the Derby or Preakness or Belmont, but Belle’s ghost haunted me and I soon gave up being a spectator. Every notice of the coming races brought me back to that macabre scene-the equine ambulance, the distraught jockey, the curtain pulled around her to give her some privacy in those last minutes, the sobbing of her owners-Belle dying on the track for a race that meant nothing.


What a waste of a beautiful life in the name of entertainment.