"Triumph and tragedy" was how the commentators described this Derby day. Big Brown showed us, all right. With all the speed in the field, and his far-outside starting position, a bad start would have upped the ante for him. As it was, he had a perfect trip and won going away. After the gallop-out, he had enough gas left to frisk a little and dump his jockey.
A solid second was the filly, Eight Belles, who ran her heart out and opened several lengths between herself and the 3rd place horse. She looked okay at the finish -- though in the overhead blimp shot, you could see her bear to the outside after that. So something may have started to go wrong. In the gallop-out, she rounded the clubhouse turn and slowed, then went down. Diagnosis: both front ankles broken. The track vet said he'd never seen an injury like this occurring after the finish.
Both faces of the sport in one race. With Churchill Downs holding onto its dirt track, instead of going synthetic, the controversies will go on. But in my humble opinion, they are not going to stop the tragedies by fixing the tracks. They need to fix the horse. The breed has gotten too inbred, and the bottom line of inbreeding is fragile bone. You can't screw with Mother Nature this way. -- Patricia Nell Warren