When you watch, bet on or in any way support American horseracing and their inclination to run horses from one to three years of age -- including the Triple Crown -- you are advocating and supporting animal abuse. Pretty hats and lovely rose wreaths do nothing to alter the fact that forcing thoroughbreds -- bred these days with spindly, thread-like, porcelain legs because it's prettier -- to run a mile and a half at top speed is a cruelty.
The death of promising filly Eight Belles, who placed in the Kentucky Derby this past Sunday, only to break down after the finish with two broken front ankles, is the result of this capricious foolishness. It's vicious and hateful. Anytime you go to Santa Anita or Hollywood Park and bet on a horse, or go to an OTB parlor, you support the abuse and cruelty that is American horseracing. Please see past the pomp and circumstance of this idiotic and brutal "sport." If we're so interested in seeing who the best jockeys are, let's let them run the races from now on. Perhaps people would find it a tad less interesting if we were euthanizing a jockey at the finish line after he broke down because he was asked to run too far, too fast, way too young.
I'm not saying we should ban the sport. I'm only asking that we start setting age minimums and shortening distances, so that we don't have yearlings, twos and three-year-olds running these grueling distances at full-bore. These aren't Dixie Cups. These are living, breathing creatures that we have responsibility for. If we started viewing horseracing as we do dog fighting, Eight Belles might have lived until her fourth birthday.
Rest in peace, Eight Belles. You were a hearty lass.