Thu May 10, 2012
Around the Nation

Horse Racing: America's Most Dangerous Game?

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 1:16 pm

Eight Belles (far left) broke both of her front ankles after finishing second in the 134th Kentucky Derby in May 2008. She was later euthanized.
Matthew Stockman Getty Images

In 2008, a horse named Eight Belles collapsed with two broken ankles just after finishing second in the Kentucky Derby. She was euthanized directly on the track. After her death, the thoroughbred industry organized safety and drug testing committees to make the sport safer.

But industry practices continue to put both horses and riders in harm's way. On average, 24 horses a week die at racetracks in the United States. Many horses that break down run with injuries masked by injected painkillers.

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Sat May 5, 2012
The Two-Way

I'll Have Another Wins Kentucky Derby

Originally published on Sat May 5, 2012 5:36 pm

Jockey Mario Gutierrez rides I'll Have Another to victory in the 138th Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 5, 2012, in Louisville, Ky.
Morry Gash AP

Overtaking Bodemeister (at 6-1 odds) in a deep stretch, I'll Have Another, at 15-1 odds, pulled off an upset in the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday. Dullahan finished third.

I'll Have Another is owned by J. Paul Reddam and was trained by Doug O'Neill.

It was jockey Mario Gutierrez's first Derby race, according to the Associated Press. It was also trainer O'Neill's first Derby victory, having never finished better than 13th place with two previous horses.

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Sat May 5, 2012

Called To The Post, Derby Starters Pack 'Em In

Originally published on Sun May 6, 2012 8:26 am

Derby entry El Padrino bites his shank during a bath ahead of the 138th Kentucky Derby this week.
Rob Carr Getty Images

When the gates fly open at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday, all eyes will be on the 20 racehorses that launch themselves into the 138th Kentucky Derby. That's a lot of horses, and a special challenge for the men charged with getting them into the starting gate safely.

Caleb Hayes, 24, has been part of the 12-man start crew for the past six years. The 9-to-5 life isn't for him, he says — he loves his job and likes working the gate side by side with the older guys.

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Fri May 4, 2012

Churchill Downs Supervisor Beginning His Last Lap

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 4:04 pm

The field of horses charges down the stretch in the seventh race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on June 19, 2009. The day marked the first night racing at the storied track in its 135-year history. Track superintendent Butch Lehr is retiring after Saturday's race. He's been maintaining the track since 1982.
Ed Reinke AP

The surface on which Kentucky Derby horses will race Saturday is a special piece of real estate, built for high performance and safety. The track is generically described as dirt, but is actually a careful mixture of river sand, silt and clay.

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Thu April 12, 2012

High School Standout Nerlens Noel Chooses Kentucky

Originally published on Fri April 13, 2012 8:22 am