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Saturday, May 04, 2013

Hooves of the Kentucky Derby 2013: Race Shoes, Hoofcare and the Farrier's Daughter

Sixty Minutes featured top jockey Rosie Napravnik the week before the Derby. Her other claim to fame? Her father is a horseshoer!

It's 90 minutes before the Kentucky Derby, do you know where you'll be today at 6:24 p.m.?

Rosie Napravnik, daughter of New Jersey horseshoer Charles Napravnik, knows exactly where she will be: on the back of MyLute, bursting out of the starting gate at Churchill Downs.

The rest of us will likely be watching the horseshoer's daughter--who won the Kentucky Oaks last year--on television.

Here's a roundup of what little we know about the horses running this year. There have been no public quarter cracks or wall separations or unusual conformational glitches--but those things will likely be made more public as the Triple Crown continues. For now, Churchill Downs would like us to believe that they are all perfect. And because it's the Derby, we'll play along.

No one has received more publicity this year than trainer Todd Pletcher. He's sending a squadron of horses to the post today in the Derby and they're all shod by the shoer who would always be your first stop if you're touring the backside in search of horse news. And that would be New Yorks Ray Amato. This year he was joined by his son, Ray Jr. On some of the headliner horses, they collaborated: one shod the fronts, one shod the hinds. (Dan Burke/FPD photo)

Like stripes? One of the top favorites is Pletcher's Verrazano, who has two-toned hoof walls. The lower limbs are  clipped because they are under bandages most of the day. (Dan Burke/FPD photo)
Todd Boston had help shoeing Frac Daddy; Paul Zanella and friends from Flores Gallery in Saratoga came to Louisville for the Derby to party with Todd and his wife Marci. (Flores Gallery photo)

What do horseshoers talk about when they hang out the day before the Derby? They don't talk, they tell jokes. Wouldn't you love to know what the punch line was that Steve Norman just unloaded? Dan Burke/FPD photo.
Kentucky horseshoer (and multiple Derby winner shoer) Steve Norman was hard at work Friday shoeing Beholder, runner-up in the Kentucky Oaks. (Dan Burke/FPD photo)
Goldencents is the California horse this year. One of his owners is basketball coach Rick Pitino. He might care more who his horseshoer is, and it is Jim Jimenez, who made the trip with the horse and is enjoying the Derby. (Alicia Hamm photo)
Life isn't always easy for a racehorse--or its hooves. Here's Frac Daddy's heel after he grabbed it in a Derby prep race back in January (Ken McPeek photo)

A few weeks later, Frac Daddy's heel was healing and he ran second in the Arkansas Derby last month. Frac Daddy's owner is from Montana. (Ken McPeek photo)
Recognize anyone? On the far pony sits Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas., watching his colt Oxbow train earlier this week. (Alicia Hamm photo)

Good luck to all--and may the best shod horse win! Yesterday, FPD had a superfecta in the Oaks; the first four finishers were wearing FPD's Kerckhaert raceplates.

Thanks to everyone who contributed photos!

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to  
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