Tears of Joy, Tears of Sorrow

My third place pick came in first in a stretch run that was a thing of beauty. Seeing Big Brown power away from the rest of the field brought tears to my eyes. The power, grace, and loveliness of a great horse will do that to me.

No sooner had I dried those tears than I was weeping again. This time in sorrow. The filly, Eight Belles, who had run so gamely and nearly done it—the filly who almost became only the fourth filly in history to win a Derby—the filly was down on the track. After crossing the finish line, after galloping on soundly into the backstretch, as her rider started to pull her up, she went down, both front ankles shattered. She was euthanized on the track.

Horse racing is a sport that I absolutely love. And absolutely hate. Yesterday just put it all into one race. Packaged all the emotions, both good and horrible, into the space of just a few minutes. Highs crashed into lows. On TV, shots of stunned fans were cut with scenes of Big Brown’s family laughing and crying and celebrating. As well they should. The win was spectacular.

Eight Belles ran her heart out. Some horses do that. There’s a name for them. Champions.

Congratulations to the owners, trainer, rider, and grooms of Big Brown. To the team who cared for Eight Belles…to the folks who walked back to the stable with a halter and no horse…my deepest sympathies.


Anonymous said…
Hi Annette, This is your cousin. I am so happy that you fulfilled the dreams of horses we had as kids. I'm crying. You captured the emotions of the Derby and horse racing in general so well in this blog. Words fail me. I must telephone soon. I am very very late with the 2007 Christmas cards. Love, Peggy

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