In an April 25 conference call, trainer Jimmy Jerkens reported that Quality Road jogged a couple of miles around the Belmont Park track and experienced no further problems with his latest quarter crack, which was patched by hoof specialist Ian McKinlay earlier in the morning.
Quality Road, one of the probable favorites for next weekend’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), if he is able to run, suffered his second quarter crack since winning the March 28 Florida Derby (gr. I). Jerkens noticed the latest quarter crack, which is on his right-front hoof, on April 23. The injury has put his Derby status in question.
“Yesterday, he was laced and treated with an antiseptic,” Jerkens said. “This morning, we decided to give him just a jog because the hoof didn’t have enough time to dry out (for a gallop). He handled that very well. (The hoof) stayed dry and there was no blood seeping. We’ll patch him again tomorrow morning and gallop him at 9:20 (a.m.).”
“Tomorrow is the big day. If he comes out of the gallop sound, I’d be really surprised if he had a problem with (Monday’s) work.” The son of Elusive Quality is scheduled for his final pre-Derby work on the morning of April 27.
When Jerkens was asked how confident he was that Quality Road would be able to run in the Derby, he said, “The way things are going, I’m pretty confident. I'm usually pretty negative, but the way he has responded (to treatment), from what Ian is saying, and the fact that there hasn’t been any weight-bearing soreness, (makes me confident). (The quarter crack) shouldn’t affect him at all if he comes out of the work without a problem.”
Jerkens admitted that he was somewhat surprised by Quality Road’s recent quarter cracks, since he never had any problems with his hooves before the Florida Derby. He said the colt has unusually small feet, "especially for a horse of his size," but believes the cause of the problem is likely hereditary.
Quality Road, a Virginia homebred for Edward Evans, has won three of his four career starts. He set the Gulfstream Park 1 1/8-mile track record in his Florida Derby victory, one month after winning the Fountain of Youth (gr. II). John Velazquez has been named to ride in the Derby.