Eight Belles and Thoroughbred Racing

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Somehow, we just can't get the image out of our minds. The three-year-old filly, Eight Belles, thundering heroically down the track at the Kentucky Derby in hot pursuit of the winner, Big Brown.

And then, Eight Belles going down. Two ankles broken.

And within minutes put down, on the track. Dead.

It was shocking. Race fans and breeders agree, but say it comes with the sport. Critics say it's part of a pattern, that thoroughbred racing is in crisis, that breeding and big bucks have turned a good sport cruel.

This hour, On Point: Eight Belles, and the fresh debate over thoroughbred racing.Guests:

Sally Jenkins, sports columnist and feature writer for The Washington Post.

Jim Squires, breeder of graded stakes winners, including Monarchos, who won the 2001 Kentucky Derby. He is author of "Horse Of A Different Color: A Tale Of Breeding Geniuses, Dominant Females, And The Fastest Derby Winner Since Secretariat."

Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society and a strong critic of thoroughbred horse racing.

John Stick, equine surgeon and chief of staff at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Michigan State University. He also runs Canter, a national organization based in Michigan that rehabilitates race horses.

This program aired on May 7, 2008.


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