Eight Belles Trainer Defends Jockey

by Rick Howlett on May 5, 2008

The trainer of Kentucky Derby filly Eight Belles says his jockey handled the horse properly during Saturday’s race.

Eight Belles collapsed shortly after crossing the finish line and was euthanized on the track.    A veterinarian says she suffered two fractured ankles.

Trainer Larry Jones said in an interview with the Associated Press that jockey Gabriel Saez used his whip on the horse during the stretch run to prevent her from running into the rail, but it played no part in her injuries.   

Meanwhile, Churchill Downs spokesman John Asher says a necropsy was performed on Eight Belles’ remains Monday in Lexington.

“The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority authorized and oversaw that.   They said the necropsy had been completed, they had preliminary results but nothing for public release.   They said it would probably be a couple of weeks before they had anything for public consumption,”  Asher said.

Asher also said that Churchill Downs officials will be discussing possible ways for the track to honor the memory of Eight Belles.

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