Important update: The kentuckyderby.com web site has been updated with a news release regarding the loss of Eight Belles. Not on the main page, but it is findable with a click or two.
For a stunning example of hack journalism, one need look no further than the New York Times' William Rhoden's piece Race Illustrates Brutal Side of Sport. Rhoden conveniently turns a blind eye to humanity's taste for the flesh of other animals. I'm a carnivore. I wish I wasn't, but I hold no illusions about where my steak, porkchops, and chicken parmigana come from. Lest we also forget that salmon and buffalo have been systematically wiped out by humans as well. Rhoden's innane "why do they get a free pass?" suggests facts not in evidence - horse racing is certainly not getting a free pass, and his suggestion that the industry is in denial is unsupported. But where is Rhoden's outrage over "ultimate extreme cage fighting?" Why does he continue to work for the Times that prints advertisements on newsprint paper that grinds up trees? How much of his electricity he enjoys comes from hydroelectric dams that block spawning salmon? I won't speculate on his favorite protein source.
A better example of a first-hand account is Tim Layden's article at SI.com. He offers some reasoned analysis regarding humanity's relationship with race horses.
Rhoden likens horse and greyhound racing to animal fights. My greyhounds (and I have 3 of them) were bred specifically to race. When they were no longer economically viable for their owners, they were made available for adoption. Not all hounds are adoptable, and many are destroyed. I wish this wasn't so, but not all hounds make suitable pets. Their nature may be incompatible with living with humans - they may be prone to biting, destruction of their habitat, or similar. I wish this wasn't so, and more could be provided for. But does my adoption of these animals encourage the greyhound race industry to continue overbreeding? While that might be valid and demonstrable economic argument, the facts are that there are greyhounds currently in need of a home. I've filled mine to capacity. It is absurd to suggest that race horse or greyhound owners mistreat the animals in their care that provide them with income and business opportunity.
I wish horses didn't have to die in accidents because of their nature. But I imagine there are many animals that wish I wasn't a carnivore either.