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Monday, October 13, 2008

Iavarone: Big Brown Was Barefoot; Injury Not Related to Toe Grabs

I was fortunate to be on a conference call this afternoon with Michael Iavarone of IEAH, managing partner owners of Triple Crown star Big Brown. As reported earlier today, the colt grabbed a quarter at some point in his work on the turf this morning and his immediate retirement from racing was announced.

Among the information that Iavarone shared was that Big Brown was not wearing his glued-on Yasha shoes this morning. He was barefoot. He stressed that toe grabs were not on the hind shoes and that the horse wore no bandages today. The injury happened on the Aqueduct (New York) turf course, perhaps on a turn, although no one has seen video of the incident.

Iavarone said that the colt cut about a three inch wound in his heel bulb. When the owner arrived at the barn, the horse was still walking, which the owner attributed to adrenaline, but the horse grew increasingly resistant to being led around the shedrow.

Trainer Rick Dutrow's immediate worry is to prevent infection. Iavorone did not have specific details on the treatment regimen. He said that the injury was not life-threatening but that it's timing, just 12 days before the biggest race of the colt's life, predicated the decision to announce his retirement rather than start a stop-gap treatment for a miracle cure.

Iavarone had few technical details to share, other than that a gash about three inches long showed where the heel bulb had been injured and that part of the hoof wall was gone as well. He mentioned that the horse was not favoring the limb and was standing on all four feet.

Big Brown will remain in New York for perhaps three weeks to a month and then will go to Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky to stand at stud.

In my next post, I will share the anatomy of the heel bulbs and some photos of injuries. Iavarone said he would try to make photos of the injury available.

Big Brown has the most well-documented hoof problems in history. He suffered from hoof wall separations in the heels of both front feet this winter and then survived a quarter crack before the Belmont Stakes. Check the April and May 2008 archives of this blog (see column to the right) for much more on Big Brown, including videos of his hoof repair.

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This post was originally published on October 13, 2008 at

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