I am a big fan of horse racing. Not only is the excitement of betting a rush, I also think that they are truly amazing animals when it comes down to it. A living thing that just loves to run and gets up to speed at 40 miles per hour is amazing to watch. But, they are very very fragile, hundreds, even thousands of pounds on legs that look like matchsticks. Today, we were reminded of how fragile and tragic races can be, with the loss of Pine Island. She broke down in the Distaff today at Churchill Downs and had to be put down. Her ankle dislocated and broke through the skin of her leg, a injury that is almost always fatal. Luckily her jockey only absorbed bumps and bruises from the fall and avoided a more serious injury, probably from sheer luck.
Pine Island was run out of the Phipps Stable in Kentucky. She had raced 6 times, all as a 3 year old and had been in the money all 6 times, with 4 wins. She was gangly and small, not one of those magnificent horses you see in the movies, but she had a certain style that worked for her, and made her a brilliant racer as a 3 year old. Plus, apparently, she had quite a personality, almost friendly, at least according to her trainer. I think that is what will be missed the most, the fact that she was not a frenetic racer, with a poor temperment and bad attitude. She was a stable pet. Racing is always dangerous, but when its on such a grand stage as the Breeders Cup, its almost even worse, because its a loss that is shared by many.
Here's more information on Pine Island and I know that my thoughts are with her owners. As evidenced by the amazing actions that have been taken to save Barbaro, alot of these horses become like family in the stable. Just so so sad.
Tomorrow, the good news for Sparky on the Breeders Cup...