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Eight Belles tragedy TIMES Newsmaker of the Year

LEXINGTON, Ky.-The tragic death of Eight Belles after the Kentucky Derby and the subsequent changes and responses within the Thoroughbred industry was selected by the editors and staff of THOROUGHBRED TIMES as the most significant story of the year and awarded the publication's annual Newsmaker of the Year. The Newsmaker of the Year is reported in THOROUGHBRED TIMES issue of December 20, 2008.

Eight Belles finished second behind Big Brown in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs but suffered catastrophic condylar fractures to both front ankles and was euthanized on the track just minutes after the running of the historic race. A wave of negative publicity immediately ensued and the racing industry's response, either through passage of measures to improve safety or through its self-evaluation, followed for several months.

The changes included the formation of the Thoroughbred Safety Committee, which was charged with reviewing every facet of equine health and issue recommendations to improve the health and safety of Thoroughbreds, and steps by the industry to ban anabolic steroids, restrict the use of toe grabs on racehorses, and implement whip regulations.

Federal lawmakers stepped into the mix when the Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives invited horsemen and industry decision makers to testify at a June 19 hearing titled "Breeding, Drugs, and Breakdowns: The State of Thoroughbred Horseracing and Welfare of the Thoroughbred." A few months later, Breeders' Cup Ltd. instituted a steroid ban for all its affiliated events, including the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park.

The headlines generated by the tragedy of Eight Belles and the subsequent action by the industry topped a year that also included such prominent stories as Big Brown's quest for the Triple Crown, the world's economic crisis, the campaigns by Curlin and Zenyatta, and continued spending sprees by Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.

A complete recap of the Newsmaker of the Year will be available on the Thoroughbred Times website, http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com, later this month, along with a recap of the other leading news stories of 2008.

About Thoroughbred Times

Thoroughbred Times Company publishes the THOROUGHBRED TIMES, a weekly newsmagazine for owners, breeders, trainers, and racing enthusiasts worldwide. Thoroughbred Times also publishes an annual Stallion Directory, the Buyer's Guides for auctions, an annual Auction Review, the daily electronic newsletter THOROUGHBRED TIMES TODAY, the annual Thoroughbred Times Racing Almanac, and maintains a comprehensive website at http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com.


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