Eight Belles' Trainer Defends Jockey's Conduct

By Doug Sweeney,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2008 11:34 PM CDT
A small vase of flowers was left at the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Ky., Monday, May 5, 2008, in sympathy for Kentucky Derby second-place winner Eight Belles.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The trainer of euthanized filly Eight Belles adamantly defended the way jockey Gabriel Saez handled the Kentucky Derby runner-up. In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Larry Jones said Saez applied the whip only to prevent Eight Belles from crashing into the rail.

"This filly in every race has tried to drift toward the rail," Jones said. "It's her comfort zone, and Gabriel knows this. This kid made every move the right move, and I hate it that they're wanting to jump down his throat. He did not try to abuse that horse to make her run faster. He knew he was second best, that she wasn't going to catch Big Brown."