Derby Debacle: Dr. McIlwraith Offers Insight on Eight Belles Catastrophy

We were all cheering for the filly coming down the stretch. We knew she couldn’t–wouldn’t–catch Big Brown Saturday afternoon. But this was something special. The two of them out front…the others trailing down the track.

And then came the announcement. Eight Belles was down on the track. Eight Belles fractured both front legs. Eight Belles was…dead.

I wonder how many people switched off their televisions when Big Brown crossed the line, and never saw the disaster. Lots, I hope.

I can still hear everyone in the room moaning “Nooooooooooo” in unison. What else could you say?

Well, lots of people have lots to say. From PETA to CNN to even our local newscasters here in Boston.

Whichever side of the debate you want to join in, do. But do your research first.

For starters, read this article in today’s Rocky Mountain News from Colorado. It is an interview with Colorado State University’s Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, director of the Equine Orthopaedic Research Center at Colorado State University. Dr. McIlwraither offers examples of cases he has worked on with multiple-limb fractures and why there was no option to save Eight Belles.

I will list some other horse health references as I find them. For now, I think the interview with Dr. McIlwraith is one of the best resources available.

Stay tuned. Stay hopeful.




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