The death of Eight Belles has garnered a lot of attention around the sports world recently, so I figure I’ll jump in on this hot topic. I realize this is a touchy issue for many people, so feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments.
I will start off by saying that the death of Eight Belles is nothing short of a tragedy and I feel terrible for the owners, trainer, and jockey. All this talk of PETA trying to get the jockey, Gabriel Saez, suspended is crazy to me. If anyone saw the post-race interviews they could clearly see how much the people involved were shaken. I’m not horse racing aficionado, but I know that if there was anything that could have been done to avoid the situation, it would have been done with no hesitation. Woody Paige mentioned on ESPN’s Around the Horn today that on average, something like two thoroughbred horses are euthanized in the USA per day. I would be all for an investigation as to why this number is so high. I just don’t think suspending the jockey who tried to pull the horse up when he felt something was wrong would get anything accomplished.
Having said all that, there is one thing that has really bothered me about this whole process. On at least three occasions I have heard the following analogy: This would be the same thing as if the quarterback collapsed and died in the locker room after the Super Bowl. Bill Plaschke said it. Eight Belles’ owner said it. Several ESPN anchors said it. To them I say, “No. It’s not the same. At all.” Eight Belles’ death was tragic and terrible, but she was a horse. That quarterback would be a human. There is no comparison whatsoever. If Plaschke was given the choice of letting a horse be euthanized or letting any football player collapse and die, he would pick the horse every single time. It’s morbid, I know, but it just proves the point. This analogy they keep using is terrible and I wish they would stop and think about what they’re saying before they say it.
Now that you see what I think, let me know how you feel. Think the horse’s life is more valuable than Tom Brady’s? Weller, don’t answer, but all the rest of you leave a comment.