(Edited press release)
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens expressed optimism on the afternoon of April 24 that Quality Road , a leading contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), would be able to make the May 2 classic after noted hoof specialist Ian McKinlay treated a second quarter crack in the colt’s right-front hoof at Belmont Park.
“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.”
A quarter crack is a crack that appears in the wall of the hoof, often starting at the coronet band, where the hoof meets the hair, and growing down. It can also start in the wall and move upward.