Quality Road , who figured to be among the top choices for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will not start in the Run for the Roses, it was confirmed Monday morning by Chris Baker, farm manager of Edward Evans’ Spring Hill Farm.
“There was some tenderness in the foot this morning and he’s not 100%. (Trainer) Jimmy (Jerkens) wasn’t comfortable breezing him, and without a work, he can’t go,” Baker said. “He’s not going to make the race.”
Quality Road, a homebred son of Elusive Quality has been battling a second quarter crack for the last few days. He returned from a mile and three-quarter gallop on the Belmont Park training track April 26 with a tinge of blood from the newly-patched quarter crack.
According to Elliott Walden, racing manager of WinStar Farm, jockey John Velazquez, who was named to ride Quality Road, will now take the mount on Mr. Hot Stuff. Mr. Hot Stuff, a full brother to dual grade I winner Colonel John was bred by WinStar. He worked five furlongs April 26 at Hollywood Park.
Jerkens had hoped to put a final workout into the Quality Roady colt April 27 over Belmont Park’s training track, but the quarter crack did not respond well enough to treatment.
“It’s not terribly bad but it’s not right,” Jerkens told New York Racing Association officials. “He’s really sensitive on the quarter.”
Quality Road overcame a different quarter crack on his right hind foot suffered during his track-record victory March 28 in the Blackberry Presents the 58th Running of the Florida Derby (gr. I) developed this injury late last week. An acrylic patch was applied by noted hoof specialist Ian McKinlay April 26.
Although treated with a drying agent and an antiseptic for 24 hours thereafter, the hoof was still sensitive, and plans to travel to Churchill Downs were scrapped.
“If this thing calms right down he’ll be back on track,” said McKinlay.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Evans, who was at Belmont Park. “The Preakness and the Belmont (Stakes) are possibilities.”
Quality Road has three wins from four lifetimes starts. Out of the Strawberry Roadmare Kobla, he was a smashing winner of the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) in his 3-year-old debut Feb. 28 at Gulfstream Park and last time out won the Florida Derby.
“The good news is we have a very talented 3-year-old,” Baker said. “We’ll wait and get him right and go from there.”