Churchill Downs, home of Kentucky Derby, suspends racing after 12 horses die. NBC News. June 2, 2023



I don’t have much time.

The rest have gone ahead to the stop place, some of them covered with flying bits of color and surrounded by cheers. Their runnerswith are smiling as they’re hugged and raised in the air.

One of the two-legged walks toward me, his face cold and sad. He carries a bag that will force my final sleep.

I was not ready for the race, and I knew it. I needed to rest, to take time out so my legs could be firm and strong with each bolt forward.

My runnerwith knew. He could feel my hesitation and unease. He sighed as he repeatedly gave me the usual signals to make me fly.

And fly we did, as we always do, transformed from a six-legged creature to a single block of energy flying across the track.

But I was weak. And the track was slippery from the rains.

All of a sudden I slid. I couldn’t regain my balance and I fell. I instantly knew I was hurt.

They can’t fix us when this happens. It’s too hard, they say.

I knew about it. We have all sensed it. It’s usually when the crowds have gone or quieted, and the rest of us are led back to the holding where we can’t see.

And sometimes it’s right there, with the crowd roaring.

The two-legged comes with their sticks they poke in us. The first one like a bad sting. Then the one that ends us.

They love our fearless movement, our gliding through the air. They love it when we get there first and loud cheers echo all over.

But when we slip and fall and can’t go on, we are dismissed.

Put down.

They report that we have died, as though we have fallen ill from some disease, but no.

They end us.

I don’t have much time.