TEXT OF STORY
Scott Jagow: All week, the sports world has been buzzing about the Kentucky Derby. And not in a good way. The death of Eight Belles after the race has prompted protests from animal rights groups. It has people within the industry searching for answers. They know casual fans might stop watching if horses keep dying at the track. Our Business of Sports commentator Diana Nyad is here. Diana, a lot of issues have come up regarding track surfaces, the age of racehorses, medication. What do you think this boils down to?
Diana Nyad: You know, what it really comes down to, I don’t care what subject we discuss, it comes down to the inbreeding. That’s what’s caused the horse to be so fragile. Every single horse, 20 of them, this past weekend at the Kentucky Derby came down the exact same bloodlines. You know, you can trace back to the very same bloodlines only a grandfather away. So, you know, we know what’s happened with humans in this case. We know what happens with canines, with dogs, in this case. You develop genetic weaknesses. And now the horse has the ankle bones and the lower legs are incredibly susceptible to injury. And so, to my mind, the one thing that could be done is a central agency that really overlooks, and we could say that you’ve got to go, unless a horse goes through six generations staying away from that bloodline, you know, then maybe they can go to the grand grand grand grand granddaughter of War Emblem, not the direct descendants can’t be inbred.
Jagow: Do you think the industry is in such danger here that they need to take this upon themselves to do something or do you see Congress getting involved, something like what happened with baseball?
Nyad: You know, I don’t. I think that it would be different if we saw a lot of callous people in the racing world who came out, you know, after Saturday’s tragedy and said, “Hey, it’s just part of the sport. Don’t bother us about it.” That’s not how they feel. They are devastated. It hurts them deeply. And I think that the Racing Association, regardless of how much money they want to make, they are definitely looking into every nook and cranny to see what can make these horse safer, including changing breeding rules.
All right. Diana Nyad, our business of sports commentator. Thank you.
Scott, it’s a pleasure.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.