2001-Tue May 23 03:10:51 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Everyone knows California Chrome, right? Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock these past few weeks, you’ll have heard of the exploits of the talented colt. Since winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, he’s been hailed as an athlete of “freakish” ability. They say he’s the only horse capable of claiming the Triple Crown title since Affirmed clinched it in 1978. But then, they say that about all the boys.(Yeah, they’re almost always boys.)
It’s true. Every year, you hear the same sort of chatter. Whether the Derby winner was a come-from-behind nobody or a to-the-manor-born darling, the two weeks following the big race are flush with talk about his prospects for the Preakness. And if the Derby winner hits again, multiply that volume by 10, at least.
Everyone loves a winner. Especially if he’s a magnificent Thoroughbred racehorse just 1.5 miles away from legend status. We simply can’t help ourselves. For men, animals like California Chrome evoke wealth and virility. For women, they stir nostalgic imaginings inspired by adolescent equestrian romance reads.
And why not? We’re in love with a new guy, and he’swaybetter looking than George Clooney.
That doesn’t mean I’m hanging on every word the press churns out about the flashy chestnut colt. Not after 2008, I’m not. In fact, since then, I’ve done my best (with middling success) to steer clear of racing news altogether. Which means no Barbaro, no Breeders' Cup and certainly no Triple Crown.
In 2008, I watched as Eight Belles went down at the Kentucky Derby. Maybe you remember. It was the first time most viewers witnessed a horse’s death broadcast live on TV.
A month later, at the Belmont Stakes, the last big contender to the Triple Crown had to be reined in midrace. Big Brown ended his career with a whimper when his jockey refused to run a halfhearted mount who’d been nursing a patched crack in his hoof since winning the Preakness. Which begs the question: Why would anyone race an injured horse?
Ever since, I’ve been referring to these three storied races as the “Cripple Crown” in remembrance of those horses who’ve been killed or maimed at the events. The term might seem a titch hyperbolic, but can you blame me? Maybe not, if you've been apprised of horse racing’s track record on so-called “catastrophic breakdowns.”
Consider the statistics: According to an industry analysis of more than 750,000 Thoroughbred racing starts (individual races), two fatalities occurred per every 1,000 starts in the United States and Canada during the 24-month period between November 2008 and October 2010. Another analysis by theNew York Times, published in 2012, estimates that 24 horses die each week at racetracks across the country.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.