Trainer Larry Jones doesn't have a horse in the May 17 Preakness (gr. I), but he is at the track to run horses in stakes Friday and Saturday. Not surprisingly, he is still being asked questions about the tragic breakdown of Eight Belles.
In the wake of the tragedy that followed the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with Eight Belles' fatal breakdown, alarming statistics reflecting the percentage of those who would support a horse racing ban were revealed by a Gallup poll.
A necropsy of Eight Belles, ordered by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, found no pre-existing bone abnormalities that contributed to compound fractures she suffered in both front legs after finishing second in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on May 3.
Thoroughbred Charities of America, ("TCA"), has announced the formation of the Eight Belles Memorial Fund. Donations made in Eight Belles honor will go specifically toward retraining of Thoroughbreds for secondary careers and research into catastrophic breakdowns.
- By Dan Liebman
by Dan Liebman - There were 417 races run on the flat in North America May 3, but only one captured the attention of the public.
In the wake of two highly publicized catastrophic racetrack injuries since May 2006, questions and opinions regarding the safety of Thoroughbred racehorses have been generated and propagated by fans, the media, and animal rights groups.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association continues to coordinate equine health and safety initiatives in response to the death of the filly Eight Belles, and on May 9 called for "urgency" and an end to the "status quo."
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, at its meeting May 19, will consider forming a working group to review Thoroughbred health and safety concerns.
A petition urging Churchill Downs to honor Fox Hill Farms' deceased filly Eight Belles by ringing eight bells, a nautical euphemism for "finished," prior to the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), is gaining momentum among horse lovers across the nation.
Though their views and actions may at times be considered extreme and bizarre by some, animal rights and welfare groups have a large constituency, have proven effective at making their point, and shouldn't be disregarded when they seize on an issue, officials said.
Six days after Eight Belles' breakdown in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), owner Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farms approved a wristband manufactured in memory of the gallant filly, with proceeds to benefit Midlantic Horse Rescue.
In the wake of the fatal breakdown of the filly Eight Belles in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), The Jockey Club has commissioned a seven-member Thoroughbred Safety Committee, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors has scheduled a special meeting May 9 to discuss a course of action.
The 134th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), also known as The Brown Derby, was such a mixed bag of emotions, observations, and conclusions, there is no way to analyze it in the normal manner or find a proper place for it in the history books.
Three days after his brilliant filly Eight Belles broke down in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Rick Porter was still searching for answers. But they aren't easy to come by.
A spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which staged a peaceful demonstration May 6 in front of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority office near Lexington, said similar demonstrations are planned for upcoming Triple Crown events. Meanwhile, the organization said it may attempt to get cruelty charges filed against the connections of Eight Belles, who was euthanized after the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Thoroughbred racing treads a fine line between its loftiest peak and its deepest abyss. Once again, celebration and sorrow clashed in the Kentucky Derby.
- By Dan Liebman
by Dan Liebman - After winning the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) May 2, Airdrie Stud owner Brereton Jones talked of the relationship his family has developed with trainer Larry Jones and his wife, Cindy.
by Evan Hammonds - Cold lies the heart of Thoroughbred racing following Eight Belles' untimely end after Kentucky Derby 134. The dark side of the toughest game in town showed itself once again on the national stage, this time in the nation's biggest race.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority released a statement May 5 regarding Eight Belles, who was injured and subsequently euthanized after the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). It followed demands by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals for changes in the horseracing industry.
In the wake of the death of the filly Eight Belles as she galloped out after the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), animal-rights organizations are publicly calling for changes -- some of them drastic -- for the horseracing industry.
United Parcel Service has never made a delivery like Big Brown delivered May 3 at Churchill Downs, romping home by nearly five lengths to remain unbeaten in four starts with a scintillating win in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
A tearful Larry Jones, the trainer of Eight Belles, who broke down in the gallop-out after finishing second in the Run for the Roses, said there would be no second-guessing in what he called an "unfortunate" outcome that couldn't be foreseen.
Favorite Big Brown wins the 134th Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) today. Eight Belles finishes second but is fatally injured immediately after the race. Denis of Cork is third.
Visit Triple Crown Mania on BloodHorse.com for more coverage.
The connections of 3-1 morning-line favorite Big Brown selected the outside 20 post position for the undefeated colt in Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) during the April 30 post position draw held in downtown Louisville.
Monba, Cowboy Cal arrive; Eight Belles eyes history; all systems go for Smooth Air
Big Brown drew No. 16 at the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) post position selection order Wednesday morning, meaning that the probable Derby favorite may have to break from the auxiliary gate when the field of 20 lines up for action May 3 at Churchill Downs.
Should Eight Belles run on Saturday, she will provide trainer Larry Jones with his second Kentucky Derby (gr. I) starter. Last year he conditioned Hard Spun, who ran a credible second behind Street Sense and was also owned by Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms.
Trainer Larry Jones took it as a sign of better things to come when his Eight Belles drew the outside 12 post for the May 2 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), but all was not lost for the Kentucky-born trainer when his Proud Spell drew post 8 in the 1 1/8-mile race for the lilies on the first Friday in May.
Trainer Larry Jones and his wife and assistant, Cindy, may have found a lucky charm for one of racing's biggest weeks. It's a nine-month-old African grey parrot named Buddy.
With each day, more and more questions are being answered. We now know Colonel John at least can work like the dickens on dirt; we know that Proud Spell will run in the Oaks, letting Bob Black Jack in the Derby; we know that Smooth Air is feeling fine again; and we know that Gayego is looking and training awesome.
Should Eight Belles run in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands instead of the previous day's Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), jockey Gabe Saez will have the mount, trainer Larry Jones said April 24.
Trainer Barclay Tagg sent Tale of Ekati out for a five-furlong work Wednesday morning at Keeneland, and was pleased with the colt's performance.
Fox Hill Farms' Eight Belles and Brereton Jones' Proud Spell, two fillies who have either the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) or the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) in their immediate futures, each worked a half-mile April 20 in their final moves at Keeneland before they are shipped to Churchill Downs April 25.
Trainer Larry Jones said it is still up in the air whether his filly Eight Belles will challenge the boys in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) or if she will battle the fillies the day before in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Owner Rick Porter has always known Eight Belles is a solid contender -- but he's thinking about putting the 3-year-old filly's class and stamina to the ultimate test May 3. Porter said April 13, if all goes well, the daughter of Unbridled's Song will be entered in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Winchell Thoroughbreds graded stakes winner Zanjero worked five furlongs at Keeneland in 1:00.60 for trainer Steve Asmussen, Monday, April 7
Fox Hill Farms' Eight Belles, who made the $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park her fourth consecutive victory, emerged as a narrow favorite as the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager concluded April 6.
Eight Belles continued her quest to become the best 3-year-old filly in the nation, as the daughter of Unbridled's Song overcame a poor start to win by three-quarters of a length in the $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) April 6 at Oaklawn Park, her third consecutive stakes triumph.
Two fillies headed for a showdown in Keeneland's Ashland Stakes (gr. I) April 5, Brereton Jones' Proud Spell and Stonerside Stable's Country Star, stood as the top two choices in Pool 3 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager as the four-day betting pool reached its halfway point.
Though Larry Jones was tempted to run his ultra-talented 3-year-old filly Eight Belles against the boys in the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) April 12, the trainer has decided to take the safer route, and instead will line up the daughter of Unbridled's Song in the $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) April 6 at Oaklawn Park.
Brereton Jones' Proud Spell, winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), and Stonerside Stable's Country Star, a two-time winner in grade I company, are the top choices for the third pool of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which begins four days of betting April 3.
The fillies Eight Belles and Proud Spell are among the late nominees for this year's Triple Crown
Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner War Pass, current Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) favorite Pyro, and filly sensation Eight Belles head a list of 110 nominations for the 72nd running for the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park.
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
Racing for Fox Hill Farms, Eight Belles has three consecutive impressive wins under her belt and will now be the likely favorite for Oaklawn's major Oaks prep, the Fantasy Stakes (gr. II),on April 6. She is the third graded winner by Unbridled's Song to feature inbreeding to Mr. Prospector.
In the $100,000 Honeybee Stakes (gr. III) March 16 at Oaklawn Park, the streaking 3-year-old filly proved she could handle graded stakes competition, as she scored by 1 1/4 lengths after coasting to the wire with ease under a confident Ramon Dominguez. She defeated five rivals.
Undefeated Lewis Lakin homebred Pure Clan makes her 3-year-old debut March 16 in the $100,000 Honeybee Stakes (gr. III), and will have to hold off five rivals, including Eight Belles, who won her stakes debut in impressive fashion last month.
Indian Blessing's surprising slip from the ranks of the unbeaten in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) March 8 left Country Star and Proud Spell atop the betting in Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which closed March 9.
Proud Spell's upset of previously unbeaten champion Indian Blessing in the Fair Grounds Oaks March 8 left Eight Belles and Pure Clan co-favored at odds of 5-1 with one day of betting remaining for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager.
Unbeaten Indian Blessing, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2007 and the favorite for Saturday's Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), was a strong 3-1 favorite following the first of four days of betting on Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager.
Hal and Patti Earnhardt's unbeaten Indian Blessing, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2007 and winner of the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and the Feb. 9 Silverbulletday Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds, is the solid morning line choice over rival Proud Spell in Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which is scheduled to open March 6.
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