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Friday, May 02, 2008

Derby Feet: Is Gayego Spanish for "Big Frog"?

When they were passing out frogs in the Kentucky Derby line, Gayego was first in line. Compare his frog to Visionaire's and Colonel John's and Big Brown's in the posts that follow this one.

Gayego, who won the Arkansas Derby, is available with pretty good odds, or at least they were good yesterday. Notice that his shoe has a toe clip. It's another Kerckhaert shoe, imported from Holland.

Gayego shipped east from California and is shod by Steve Norman. The colt is trained by Brazilian Paolo Lobo and his owners are Cuban-Americans. Talk about living the American dream!

Gayego had a quarter crack in one hind foot when his owners bought him for only $32,000 at the 2006 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. According to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat, the owners said that the horse went through the sale with a patch on the hoof and "there was electrical tape over it,” said Juelle, an accountant from Rolling Hills, California. “People started looking to the other side. They didn’t want to see the damaged horse. But the crack on the [hoof ] wasn’t a concern to us. It wasn’t a concern to our vet.” Juelle said Gayego was given about two months for the quarter crack to heal before being broken.

This horse is definitely one of my top picks. If you watch his videos on you'll see why; he has the early speed needed to get out of the mess in the middle of the 20-horse pack. If his other performances are any indication, this horse could break free and the others will have to catch him. His work this week was on a wet track. If he does get to the front, I think he will find Big Brown there with him. The two of them are breaking from the 19 and 20 stalls so it's a logistics puzzle how they are going to get there. With three year olds, anything can happen out of the gate.

I will be doing my annual marathon holding-of-my-breath for roughly two minutes.

Z Fortune ran second to Gayego in Arkansas and is also in the Derby; I just learned that he is wearing Polyflex glue-on shoes, as is Steve Asmussen's other entry, Louisiana Derby winner Pyro.

Learn more about Gayego at

Gayego looks out of his stall at Churchill Downs; his jockey will be Mike Smith. (USA Today photo by H. Darr Beiser)


Anonymous said...

That is how Frogs SHOULD look! Kudos to the Farrier who left this horse's frogs alone!

Anonymous said...

Holy frog batman! That is incredible.

rather rapid said...

for a show horse perhaps.

i'd think the big frog in part explains this horse's awkward stride. another oddness of the trainer Paul Lobo i'm supposing. Were you to trim that frog suspect you'd see a lot of bruising. Race horse frogs correctly trimmed need to meet the surface instead of pound the surface, as this sort of frog will do. that's my experience, though the frog controversies will continue.

Hidalgo said...

While the width of the frog is awesome, it does seem quite long...much longer than the hoof wall.
Although if you look at it with the shoe, it seems a little lower than the bottom of the shoe, so it should be in contact with the ground but not pounding it. Perhaps that is what accounts for a well-developed frog despite shoes (which often keep the frog out of contact with the ground, and then you have thin underdeveloped frogs).

Fran Jurga said...

Well, now I am beginning to regret posting this photo!

Please re-read the article. This horse has recovered from quarter cracks or wall separations. I assume that he was wearing some sort of a bar shoe or impression material.

You can't judge by this photo because you can't see the other foot's frog. It may well be that this frog is over-developed and the other one is atrophied.

I sort of agree that this frog could be bruised underneath, but I'd like to think that a racehorse would have healthier feet if s/he had a frog that was operational.

I posted the photo because it is so unusual to see a racehorse with a good-sized, triangular frog but I also figured it could be a side effect of long-term bar shoes or impression material, and not really be as healthy as it looks.

These photos are just snapshots to show the world what Derby feet look like, for better or worse. You can't be too analytical unless you can see the horse and the other feet.

I just thought it would be fun to share these photos.

Anonymous said...

I think the photo is excellent. It is unfortunate that this is the exception to the rule, because this is a HEALTHY frog. But we are so use to seeing tiny, skinny, weak frogs, that many horse owners think the tiny ones are "normal".

Excellent example, and wish all horses had frogs like this!