The recent breakdown of Eight Belles following her second-place win at the Kentucky Derby prompted an unprecedented outpouring of public grief and indignation. But what have we learned, and what happens now?
The thoroughbred racing industry would have us believe that Eight Belles' fractured ankles were the result of a "freak accident," that the use of drugs is rare and that the industry is capable of policing itself.
Wrong on all counts.
When an average of two thoroughbreds suffer catastrophic injuries while racing and must be euthanized every single day, this is no rare event. It's a daily occurrence. And this startling statistic doesn't include breakdowns during training sessions or nonlethal injuries.
Hard track surfaces, the immaturity of the horses and the frequency of racing all play a part. But it's the use of drugs that must be dealt with immediately.
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