Smoking Gun? The article in this week's Blood-Horse about Big Brown's loose shoe in the Belmont, shown in this closeup from a Russ Melton photo, has now been posted on the web; you can read the entire article by clicking here.
Big Brown trainer Rick Dutrow is sticking to his guns: the "loose shoe" is not the smoking gun in his horse's failure to capture the 2008 Triple Crown on June 7th. He was interviewed by the Blood-Horse when they decided to publish the photo you see with this post. (See following posts for more on loose shoes.)
Dutrow added that the shoe appeared to have spread and that it was pulled, along with his other shoes, the next day. His horseshoer still had to use his pulloffs to get the shoe off, so "loose" is a relative term. He also said that there was no pain reaction when the foot has worked on.
Dutrow also verified farier Tom Curl's report that Big Brown is now shoeless and jogging at Aqueduct, presumably enjoying a rest from all the hoof-la that attended his Triple Crown lameness issues.
Also, the toe grab in this photo is completely legal in New York. No states that I know of have banned toe grabs on hind feet. The Jockey Club's model rule change suggests toe grabs other than wear plates be eliminated on front shoes but there are no rule changes suggested for hind shoes, where toe grabs are standard equipment.