The Temptation to View the Death of Eight Belles As Feminist Parable Is Overwhelming

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Eight Belles is the horse who took second place in the Kentucky Derby yesterday, but broke both front ankles in the process, and was therefore immediately euthanized. She was the only filly in a field of twenty horses. A story about this in today’s NYT starts out: “Boy, did Eight Belles hang with the boys.” The author later observed:

Eight Belles could have easily been the wagering favorite in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks, an all-girl showcase. But Jones and Porter decided to run her against the boys despite the fact that she had never done so before. She had, after all, solid credentials with a four-race winning streak.

She was reportedly the first filly to run in the Derby since 1999. She ran with “the boys” in a race overwhelming dominated by males, in a sport designed by and for men. She excelled, but she paid for her success with her life.

Peace to you, Eight Belles.

–Ann Bartow

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0 Responses to The Temptation to View the Death of Eight Belles As Feminist Parable Is Overwhelming

  1. Last Plane to Jakarta says:

    This post was incredibly moving. Thank you.

  2. brat says:

    My partner reminded me as we saw the Eight Belles collapsed on the track, “You said her legs were too skinny….”

    Yes, horse racing is quickly becoming the new boxing, thanks to poor track conditions (for horses), and over breeding. Take a hard look at the differences between the physiology of race horses and regular horses.

    I think we should ONLY race plow horses. They’re the only horses sturdy enough to take that sort of pounding.

    And yes, the parable is striking.

  3. supercynic says:

    I’m not a horse-racing expert, but isn’t this the 2nd horse that’s had to be euthanized in the same number of years? I would not lose any sleep over the banning of this sport. Actually, I should put the word sport in quotation marks because the horses are the only ones doing something athletic.