One-Minute Book Reviews

May 5, 2008

Do Owners Destroy Good Horses by Running Them in the Kentucky Derby Too Soon? (Quote of the Day / Carol Flake)

Filed under: News,Quotes of the Day — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 6:28 pm
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Long before Eight Belles broke two ankles and was euthanized on the track at Churchill Downs on Saturday, journalist Carol Flake explored the dark side of the Kentucky Derby in Tarnished Crown: The Quest for a Racetrack Champion (Doubleday, 1987). Flake wrote that every year, some owners and trainers develop “Derby Fever Syndrome,” which impairs their judgment about the readiness of their horses for the race:

“I had once asked [trainer] John Veitch why so many trainers overestimated the ability of their horses. ‘It clouds your judgment, the hype and excitement of being able to say you ran a horse in the Derby,’ he said. ‘Every year about half the horses shouldn’t be there. There’s no sense destroying a useful horse by running him before he’s ready. You’ve got to have seasoning. It’s not like a boxer who’s fought nothing but pugs but who doesn’t know what it is to fight a real man.

“’People get a high on a horse. They say, ‘I’ve got a world beater.’ The problem is, they’ve never been around a good horse before. If you’ve never drunk champagne, you might think Ripple tastes just as good.’”

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

1 Comment »

  1. Personally, I’m in favor of letting the horses sit in the stands, wearing the fancy hats and dresses, or the Armani suits and bowler hats. Then they can kick back and relax with distilled water and caramel apples while they watch their owners and their wives(women on top)race eight furlongs.

    And in the likely event, any legs, ankles, arms or wrists get broken toward or at the finish line, then I’d get a horse doctor out on the track pronto, to euthanize the poor limb. Of course, that would make the wealthy couple ineligible to compete in the Preakness or the Belmont for that year.

    But on the other hand, they’re instant favorites to star in a motion picture called Mr. And Mrs. Ed Does Kentucky.

    Hee Haw!

    Comment by mickoshay — May 6, 2008 @ 2:42 pm | Reply


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