On a competitive note, fans are left to wonder, as they were with Barbaro, what kind of racehorse Eight Belles would have been.
With almost everyone in the Derby electing, for now, to skip the Preakness, Big Brown will enter a projected nine-horse field.
The question is whether this filly would have been the one to mount the best challenge. And if she had elected to skip running against males, whether she could have so dominated her sex as to stamp her a great champion.
For now there is just sadness tinged with pride.
"These things are our family," Jones said. "We put everything into them that we have. They've given us everything they have. They put their life on the damn line, and she was glad to do it."
Jessie Halladay writes for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal. Contributing: Tom Pedulla in Louisville.