Sweet Delta Princess, Busy Girl, Will be Missed
Delta Princess was only 15 years old when she was humanely put down yesterday, August 5th. She'd been suffering from a chronic stifle condition and her situation rapidly disintegrated. Her pain increased as a result of this deteriorating situation and the right thing, the compassionate thing to do was put her down.
Normally, a story like this would end there. You have a sick horse. The horse is in excruciating pain. The proper moral choice is obvious. Put the horse out of her pain and misery. I believe Delta Princess deserves special attention though today, because at the time of her death she was pregnant with a healthy little guy (or girl), daddy Awesome Again. So this beautiful horse's death is tragic on two levels. (As if one young death didn't make this event sad enough.)
And this reality is what I wanted to explore...
The thoroughbred racing industry, as a whole, is often chastised and ridiculed. The people whom comprise it and earn a living off of breeding, raising, training and racing t-bred horses are also often the focus of severe negative attention.
Trainers are attacked for their choices in how they care for and motivate their horses. Owners are attacked for not knowing every single moment of what goes on in their trainer's barns. It is insinuated time and time again that veterinarians do not do enough or care enough about the horses under their care to award them happy, healthy lives.
Yes, obviously, there are bad trainers and bad owners and bad veterinarians, and jockeys and assistant trainers and handlers and on and on and on. Like there are bad individuals in every other large industry, in every country with a vast number of people getting to have a say in how they run their own lives and make personal choices, all around the world.
Delta Princess' owners and training team, all her human caretakers at Adena Springs and her vet just proved with their hard decision yesterday, however, that the bad individuals, the ones who intentionally run amuck in the business of horse racing, do not necessarily represent the bulk of the industry's people.
There are many, many people who work in and enjoy the sport of horse racing because they actually love, admire and cherish horses. These people are not often talked about in the media or interviewed about how difficult the decision was for them to have to agree to euthanize one of their own. That is not publicly highlighted to any degree near a Steve Asmussen or Bob Baffert fiasco.
My point is, the majority of people who work in and count on horse racing for their livelihood are decent, humane, considerate individuals who respect and appreciate horses. I understand this isn't as flashy to talk about as a good drug charge or failed drug test or failed breathalyzer or what not. But it's a reality that needs and deserves attention if the sport is to survive and absorb new generations of race fans for decades to come.
Yes, Delta Princess not surviving and getting to live out her golden years relaxing in pasture somewhere is certainly disappointing and sad. Likewise, being in foal at the time of her death is amply tragic. The real issue to remember here though, today, when you think about this gorgeous gal and her baby passing on, is that the team responsible for Delta Princess' well-being had to make a horribly tough call, AND THEY CHOSE TO PRIORITIZE DELTA PRINCESS' PERSONAL NEEDS FIRST.
Delta Princess will be deeply missed, as well as her unborn foal and any other little babies she would've birthed. But the sadness of losing her is little price to pay considering the alternative was to keep her alive and watch her be in pain simply to sustain the baby and give birth.
This humanity is what people should be writing about, discussing in sports' news, addressing in daily chat forums. The compassionate, kindred spirit of human to horse, horse to human, that takes place every day in the horse racing industry.
Here's a link to the story that I initially read on Delta Princess' death. Thanks Paulick Report.
Don't get me wrong, yes, talk about the bad stuff, the people who blatantly do wrong things. Hold them appropriately accountable and responsible for their actions. But don't let their personal poor choices ruin the sport for the individuals who are willing to play by the rules and not injure horses all in the name of a day's work. Balance out the bad reporting with some good. Everybody in the sport of horse racing is not disregarding the well-being of horses to make a buck.
People who work in the horse racing industry generally share one thing in common, a love for fast, courageous horses. Honor Delta Princess by acknowledging that her humans made the right choice for her, despite the dire outcome. They did the humane thing.