Saturday, April 25, 2009

NEW CRACK A “MINOR DEAL”

The Quality Road connections, including trainer Jimmy Jerkens, expressed optimism yesterday afternoon about quality roads latest “quarter crack.” At the moment (key phrase), they believe he will be able to make the May 2 classic after noted hoof specialist Ian McKinlay treated a newly discovered quarter crack in the colt’s right-front hoof.

(A note for you non-horse folks about “quarter cracks.” A quarter crack like the one Big Brown had and Quality Road has in not life threatening in any way. His hoof isn't going to fall off or anything tragic of the sorts. It is most comparable to Ty Lawson’s injured toe. The toe hurts so Lawson can’t practice or play at full speed and that compromises his ability to play his best in a game. It’s the same deal with QR – his foot hurts just enough to slow him down a bit and in a game that’s all about how fast you can go, that’s a problem)

“Ian closed the crack up with laces,” said Jerkens. “We will jog him tomorrow, if there’s no blood we can patch him. He can gallop Sunday and breeze Monday, and if he is sound Tuesday we’ll ship to Kentucky.

“Right now, he’s absolutely sound. But to miss your last work when you wanted to work before the Derby is crucial.”

Quality Road, who appears fully recovered from a slight quarter crack in his right-hind hoof suffered in March, developed this quarter crack, estimated at about one-half inch long, sometime on April 23. It was first noticed after he returned from a routine gallop at Belmont Park.

“He wasn’t sore or anything,” said Jerkens. “We brought him in to pull his shoes afterward and that’s when we noticed it.”

McKinlay, whose client list includes 1997 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Touch Gold and 2008 Derby and Preakness (gr. I) winner Big Brown , said he was fully confident Quality Road would be able to make the Derby.
“The foot is cold, which is a tremendous sign,” McKinlay said. “He’s a little sensitive at the hairline, but now that it is stabilized (with the laces) the pain will go away. It’s not bothering him and I don’t think there’s any infection.”

McKinlay said Quality Road’s quarter crack was far less severe than the ones which affected Big Brown and Touch Gold.

“Compared to Big Brown, this is a nice picnic in Central Park,” said McKinlay. “And compared to Touch Gold, Big Brown was a picnic in the park. This is night and day and should be a minor deal.”

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