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A Tribute To Eight Belles
 By Cowzers   •   4th Jun 2011   •   6,072 views   •   22 comments
When horse racing enthusiasts hear the words “Kentucky Derby 2008”, most think of the brilliant win by the all mighty Big Brown, rejoicing. Others weep; remembering a filly who gave it her all until her very last breaths. This is what happened on that day, May 3rd of 2008.

A Tribute To Eight BellesEight Belles; 2005 filly sired by Unbridled’s Song was headed for the biggest race she would ever set foot on, and wretchedly her last. The 134th running of the Kentucky Derby. Just hours before the Derby, Eight Belles and her trainer awoke early for a breeze before the ultimate race. Their goal...to make Eight Belles the fourth filly to win the Derby.

Eight Belles, the only filly on the Derby field that year finished a sound second behind the favourite, Big Brown. In the moment of triumph, tragedy struck. Eight Belles had collapsed onto the dirt track just after just passing the wire.

"She felt great coming to the finish, you know?" Jockey Gabriel Saez manages out. "It all happend so fast. I can't talk about it now."

The magnitude of what happened was deliberate to reach the fans. Celebrating prevented the large crowd from realizing what had happened, including her owners, Fox Hill Farms. She was immediately euthanized before they even knew about the fatal injury. She had fractured both front ankles while trying to support the both of them. Suggestions such as her stumbling while being pulled up from such speed came into play as her trainer had once suggested she had troubles with.

“To show you how quickly this sport can change, her owners and trainer were making their way down to the finish line. They had seen her charge hard for that second place finish. They were celebrating up until that moment...” NBC Sport’s, Kenny Rice stated on television hours after the tragedy.

Everyone was in disbelief, many in tears, many trying not to believe that the filly’s fate was ended by such a catastrophic event after running her heart out…

"There was no way to save her. She couldn't stand. She ran the race of her life." Jones' voice broke and tears glistened in his eyes as he considered his barn without Eight Belles in her stall. I've been in this game a long time and I have never, ever seen a horse gallop a quarter of a mile after the finish line and this happen,"

On behalf of Eight Belles, the NTRA asked jockeys at the Preakness to wear stickers representing her on their helmets, on their boots, on their hearts.

Words failing describe the grief that her passing has left in its wake. She ran with the heart of a locomotive on glass ankles, many say. But her story is forever engraved in our hearts.

A tribute to a legend.
~Eight Belles~

Horse News More In This Category:  Horse Stories      Horse News More From This Author:  Cowzers
Soul Horse  
I love that Racehorse she is amazing! People try to say she isn't important but I say have you ever seen a filly like that?
  Jun 4, 2011  •  3,512 views
 
Unique  
Wow. This even made me tear up! Eight Belles will be missed. RIP.
  Jun 4, 2011  •  3,249 views
 
Wanderin Boy Memorial  
Great tribute to Eight Belles !!
I remember that watching the Derby that day, and I still have the newpaper article about it.
She was one of those fillies, like Zenyatta, the one's who rarely come around.
  Jun 4, 2011  •  3,519 views
 
Sunburst  
RIP Eight Belles. Always in our hearts!
  Jun 4, 2011  •  3,430 views
 
My Paper Heart  
Man I am trying not to cry!
She was a beauti and she will be missed!
Rip.
  Jun 4, 2011  •  3,479 views
 
Eire  
Compared to Bold Ruler, Omaha, Man O' War, Northern Dancer, Nasrullah, and so many more she isn't that much. It's unfortunate that she ended up tragically, but she really wasn't all that good as a racehorse.
  Jun 4, 2011  •  4,260 views
 
Valkyrie   MOD 
I don't know whether it's just American horses but it seems every year one of them breaks down. It's probably all the inbreeding. I can't ever remember a time when a horse broke down in the Melbourne Cup (the Southern Hemisphere's biggest race).

But they are very brave to keep running when they know they're done for.
  Jun 4, 2011  •  3,484 views
 
Emmurr  
That's so sad, I can't believe that happened after such an amazing run from the filly. This is why they should break them at a later age, there would be less off this sort of problem then :/
  Jun 4, 2011  •  3,483 views
 
Pdeletedpp  
i saw her run her final race.rip
  Jun 4, 2011  •  3,482 views
 
WildHorse  
i loved that lil filly, she was so beautiful...

i honestly cant believe what some ponyboxers are saying about her!! Eight Belles is dead, so instead of saying 'oh she wasnt as good as such and such' why not say NICE things about her? Can we please have some respect here? She may not have been the best but she was a pretty awesome filly whos time was cut way to short.
  Jun 4, 2011  •  3,539 views
 
Golden Juniper  
What a beautiful horse! It is so sad to know that she went down that way...
  Jun 4, 2011  •  3,639 views
 
toffeelola  
it's so sad and to think she was only a few years old with such a future ahead of her!
  Jun 4, 2011  •  3,514 views
 
Simplicity  
Poor horse.... :(
  Jun 5, 2011  •  3,477 views
 
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
Fantastic article. Great story, and beautifully written - I really enjoyed this. RIP, Eight Belles. She truly was a remarkable filly.
  Jun 5, 2011  •  3,480 views
 
T E M P E S T  
Great article!
  Jun 5, 2011  •  3,838 views
 
Labyrinth  
Such a tragic event. At least she died doing something she loved.
  Jun 5, 2011  •  3,681 views
 
Crz4Horses  
I loved that mare:( Such a great heart. She's racing on golden tracks now...probably racing Barbaro!!!!(and beating him:)
  Jun 6, 2011  •  3,498 views
 
RustyHeart  
So sad. I'd never heard of her till now. :(
  Jun 7, 2011  •  3,731 views
 
Spyricale  
No matter who was greater than Eight Belles, she still will be missed by a lot of people. She might not be as great as Zenyatta, but again, she will be missed.

Great article.
  Jun 7, 2011  •  3,482 views
 
MoMoz  
That was actually the first year I decided to watch the Kentucky Derby because usually I didn't watch horse racing but now I'm hooked! But I was rooting for her because she was the only female horse, I actually knew nothing about her odds or pedigree or anything, I just wanted the girl horse to win!! So after she collapsed, I was devastated and I asked my dad, "Does this usually happen in horse racing?" Ever since then I started calling her one of my favorite racehorses even though I only knew her for 5 minutes. I will always remember her! :)
  Jun 8, 2011  •  3,508 views
 
Seven Sins  
rip eight belles
  Jun 15, 2011  •  3,501 views
 
FreeRein  
She was truly amazing. For a filly to come in second place to the first Triple Crown hopeful since I don't know when. I love her and made wrote an article that appeared on our school news cast. It felt so good to let everyone know what happened that great but tragic day.
  Jun 19, 2011  •  3,477 views
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