Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Beating a Dead Horse(shoe): Big Brown's Loose Shoe, Revisited
Photo links to ESPN's article on hind shoe revelation.
In the hours after Big Brown failed to win, or even really finish, the Belmont Stakes two weeks ago, majority owner Michael Iavorone of IEAH told the Blood Horse:
"His feet are ice cold, quarter crack not an issue. He had a very loose hind left shoe, but that’s not an issue."
Now we are left to wonder: did anyone check the right hind?
This week's Blood-Horse shows a loose shoe on what looks to be Big Brown's right hind foot...and the photo was snapped early in the race.
Please read the article on ESPN.com, and also go back and re-read the Hoof Blog's original post about the loose shoe. The Blood-Horse expose of the loose shoe is in the mail and will probably show up on their web site at some point.
The report of a loose shoe was a grave concern to me when I heard about it; some of the farriers I talked to were also quick to state that that might have been a problem, particularly with traction in the deep track. They were more concerned by a loose hind shoe than by a patched front foot.
But the Big Brown camp dismissed hind shoes as having played any role in Big Brown's uncharacteristic performance in the race of his life.
I know that someone out there will say that the closeup photo is showing a turndown style of hind shoe, but turndowns are not allowed in New York racing rules and the horse would have been spun before he even got to the paddock.
I also interviewed farrier Tom Curl, who rebuilt Big Brown's fickle feet in Florida this winter. Tom was with the horse after the Belmont. He did not consider the loose shoe to have been a performance limiting mishap when asked about it.
Of course, we'll never know what happened to Big Brown that day. The colt's not talking.