I got hate mail! Woohoo!
"Okay, they're heading into full-blown overkill on this now. Giving Barbaro an honor that he has done nothing to deserve is not only an insult to the great Secretariat, but it shows just how desperate the horse racing world is to exploit this particular horse to boost their product. Had any of the other Triple Crown contestants (including the winners of the Preakness and Belmont Stakes) had such an injury, they would most likely have been euthanized on the spot. Barbaro's accident was a tragic end to a career with potential, but it is certainly not a reason to canonize this horse into sainthood."
I am sure you have recieved many angry e-mails concerning this ignorant post of yours. Had you the mind to watch Barbaro's races, maybe you would have seen how incredible this athlete was. Barbaro never lost a race and was always a length ahead of the rest of the field. Make sure you have the facts, in this case the most obvious fact that Barbaro was a 'perfect' horse.
Cut to my reply: From: Jade
Actually, yours is the first e-mail I've received at all on the topic, which shows that either you're giving me far too much credit for an avid readership or you've seriously underestimated the interest people have in a dead horse.
Was Barbaro a great horse? Yes. Did he run some great races? Yes (and yes, I HAVE seen him race). Was his injury (and subsequent death) a tragedy? Yes. Was he perfect? Only in the fact that he was fortunate enough to have died with a perfect record. No one can say exactly what would have happened to Barbaro if his leg hadn't happened to snap like a twig. Just because he was perfect up until that point is no guarantee that he would have been successful later on. Secretariat, on the other hand, DID win the Triple Crown, and DID have a long and successful career, and he receieved the proper honor one should give to a legendary champion. It was a tragedy that Barbaro did not get the chance to prove that he was Secretariat's equal or even superior, but tragedy does not entitle him to receive an honor just because there was a chance he might have earned it on his own. Horse racing, like any sport, is not an absolute. The best athlete doesn't necessarily win every event he or she enters. That is what makes it interesting. You cannot assume that Barbaro would have won the Triple Crown or even any other race he may have entered in the future, and therefore you cannot give him the same honor given to Secretariat.
When someone dies tragically, especially someone who had great potential in his or her field, there is a natural tendency to put that person (or in this case, horse) on a pedestal, to conveniently forget that in this world we live in, NO ONE (be they man, woman, horse, whatever) is perfect. Barbaro was a great horse who died before he had a chance to live up to his potential. No more, no less. If you want to call that "ignorant" on my part, that's your choice. It doesn't change a thing. He's still dead.