Kentucky Derby: Eight Belles euthanized

A sad report from Louisville, KY

Eight Belles came in second.  A few strides after the place finish she fell to the ground.  The Horse had broken both front ankles in her race to the finish.  veterinarians immediately made the decision to put her to rest right there on the track. It was an emotional episode from elation to sadness Eight Belles was a winner to the end. She will not soon be forgotten.

Eight Belles euthanized after runner-up finish in Kentucky Derby

 by Tom Law

Fox Hill Farm’s Eight Belles, runner-up after a game come-from-behind finish in the 134th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), suffered catastrophic injuries after galloping out and had to be euthanized on the racetrack as the winner’s celebration for Big Brown kicked off at Churchill Downs.

American Association of Equine Practitioners On-Call member Larry Bramlage, D.V.M., said the Unbridled’s Song filly broke both front ankles as she galloped out nearing the backstretch. She fell and threw jockey Gabriel Saez, attempted to regain her composure, and partially collapsed again as she was attended to by outriders and emergency personnel.

“Unfortunately she had to be immediately euthanized, there was no possible way to save her,” Bramlage said. “That’s an injury that is just too painful. It’s a bad injury to both front legs.”

 Eight Belles was the first filly to start in the Kentucky Derby since 1999.



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  1. I went from elation to heartbreak in a minute. I was so happy that she showed just how good she was. She died doing what she loved to do, run. May she run in green pastures now. God bless you beautiful one.

  2. It amazes me that Veterinary Medicine can not do more for these beautiful animals that give so much.
    My heart is broken and my thoughts and prayers go out those grieving her loss.

  3. Who knows what she might have done at the finish if she hadn’ t broken when they opened her. She died a champion. She gave her all until she passed that finish line. Hope I go with that much determination and courage.

  4. What a great filly with so much heart. and ability. Tragedy similar to Ruffian. Many tears I have on this Derby day.

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