Kentucky Derby placer Eight Belles, as drawn by Zak Wallace

Racehorse filly Eight Belles, as drawn by Zak Hutson

EIGHT BELLES was one of only 39 fillies (female horses) ever to run in the Kentucky Derby, which just celebrated its 135th run last Saturday.  135 years x 20 horses a year  is 2700 horses total to run the race. If my math is correct, 39 fillies makes %0.0144 of total horses run.  Eight Belles was one of them.   She came in second.  During her victory lap she fell and broke both ankles.  She was euthanized on the track and died minutes after crossing the finish line.

This year was another year without a single filly in the race, although some say that one, Rachel Alexandra, would have had a pretty good chance.  Instead she was entered into the ladies only “fillies for the lillies” Kentucky Oaks, which took place the day before the Derby.  She won easily.  Her jockey, Calvin Borel, coincidentally also rode the gelding Mine That Bird to his Derby victory the next day.  His verdict on the two horses:  “I think she’s the best horse in the country right now”, referring to Rachel Alexandra.  When asked whom he would choose to ride if the two horses were to compete in the same race, Borel responded, “I would ride her.”

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3 Responses to EIGHT BELLES

  1. little miss nowhere says:


    Borel went through on his word and rode Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness. He chose to ride her over Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, saying,

    “This is the best horse I’ve ever ridden. I’m paid to win. This was the best horse.”

    You can read about it here


    although some of the language is a little cringe-inducing (Headline: “Rachel Alexandra shows that girls rule on this day” and “Women’s pride has had its good days, and this was certainly one of them.” Thanks Bill Dwyre for your insights, BARF!)

  2. lisa maez says:

    love this!

  3. rollblazeinhale says:

    nice graphic..has a day of dead feel to it!

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