Jockey Not to Be Blamed in Kentucky Derby Death

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ The trainer of euthanized filly Eight
Belles insists his jockey handled the horse properly during
Saturday's second-place finish at the Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Larry Jones tells The Associated Press that Gabriel Saez
started whipping the horse to prevent her from running into the
rail and it played no part in the horse's injuries. Jones says if
the Derby were run again tomorrow, he'd put the Panamanian-born
jockey right back on one of his horses.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling for Saez
to be suspended, contending he should have noticed an injury and
pulled the horse up rather than applied the whip. The organization
also has announced plans to protest the Kentucky Horse Racing
Authority tomorrow. They'll argue for major changes, including a
ban on using the whip or racing horses younger than 3.
The Humane Society of the United States also is weighing in,
arguing that horses are becoming more fragile because they're being
bred for speed, not durability.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)