This breaks my heart.
I was going to put up a picture, but I can't bear to look at them.
For some reason, I have always felt much stronger sympathy for animals in distress than for humans. Maybe it's because I know the kind of care of which a person can avail themselves to recover; or maybe it's because animals are so devoid of subterfuge and artifice--they live completely honest lives. Whatever the case, an animal's pain or distress is profoundly upsetting to me.
If that pain and distress comes by way of human hands it's much the worse. And if the human motivation is entertainment, or worst of all, entertainment with an eye toward making money, then that animal's suffering is an outrage, an atrocity. It diminishes us; it diminishes humanity itself.
I'm sure that Eight Belles had people who genuinely loved and cared for her, and that those people are personally distressed by her breakdown in far deeper ways than my generic outrage. And maybe the animals love the competition; maybe they love to run and to vie for the top spot. But it seems more likely that they're doing what they've been trained to do for human purposes, that they're really trying, like a dog, to please their masters. And that means they must run fast, which means they're bred light and trained hard.
But if this is an inevitable part of horse racing, then we should demand the "sport" should be abandoned altogether. And if, like the corporate obsession with stock dividends above all else, any part of our distress with this situation rests with moneys lost, then this vain death is a stain upon us.
I will never watch another horse or dog race.