We are less than two weeks and counting until Derby weekend, and news broke this week that the top Kentucky Oaks contender She Be Wild will been scratched due to a pastern fracture, and worse that significant Derby contender Tiz Chrome was euthanized on Saturday after a sesmasoid fracture led to his breakdown during training. These two incidents remind me that everything leading up to the Derby is happening writ large on the national media stage - this is the period of the year when the media and public are following horse racing very closely and forming judgments due to their awareness of the catastrophic events that have marred the sport in the last few years. Horse racing can bury its breakdowns and injuries in small press bylines during the rest of the year, but during Triple Crown season everybody is watching.
Does the added pressure of training and preparing for the Derby increase the likelihood that an injury will be sustained? Or do the injuries and breakdowns just seem more potent because they carry the added weight of significantly influencing public perception about the sport?
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