Friday, April 24, 2009

QUALITY ROADS DERBY STATUS NOW IN DOUBT

Leading Kentucky Derby contender Quality Road has a new quarter crack on the inside of his right front hoof.

There is an old adage in horse racing that goes "No hoof, no horse."

The reason it's an old adage is simply because it's true. Thoroughbreds can't train adequately or perform at their peak with nagging foot injuries.

Yesterday, blacksmith and quarter crack guru Ian McKinlay said Quality Road's rear quarter crack was a "done deal." Unfortunately, a routine shoe removal following Thursday's exercise at Belmont removed a new problem.

Quality Road's trainer, Jimmy Jerkens said Friday morning at Belmont Park he first noticed the crack April 23 after the big strapping Virginia-bred returned from a routine morning gallop.

“He wasn’t sore or anything,” said Jerkens. “We brought him in to pull his shoes afterward and that’s when we noticed it.”Noted hoof specialist Ian McKinlay, who successfully patched the first injury, is scheduled to treat the crack this afternoon.

McKinlay told our sources early this morning that the problem was "minor and manageable" and that it would not "effect his preparation or performance." In fact, McKinlay suggested that such an injury within a few as four days prior to the Derby could be overcome.

Simply put, the blacksmith to the stars told our sources within Quality Road's camp not to worry.

However, hearkening back to "No hoof, no horse" any foot problem is serious, and by the time McKinlay spoke to the media by late morning, he didn't sound quite a confident.

“I saw Quality Road (Thursday) morning and that’s when we noticed the crack," McKinlay said. "I did him up with Animalintex (poultice), which draws out the infection. This morning, the crack was very clean. Obviously, he didn’t go to the track, so they tubbed him. They’ll dry him up and I’ll see him later this afternoon.

“It was a straight crack, with no infection. I really don’t think it is as serious as the other one (right-hind quarter crack). If we were able to get right on top of it, I’ll probably lace it this afternoon. You have to remember that we are dealing with a living organism and it has a mind of its own. There is only so much we can do, and then we hope for the best. I’ll know more when I see him this afternoon, and Saturday morning will tell us a lot.”

Jerkens was matter-of-fact about it saying, “If Ian can lace it this afternoon, and the horse can gallop tomorrow, he could put a patch on right away and he can breeze on Sunday (April 26). If he wants to wait another day, he can gallop Sunday, and then breeze Monday.”

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