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.”