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Friday, April 24, 2009

Quality Road: Another Quarter Crack in the Road to the Derby

Tell me it isn't true: just when you thought it was safe to make him the favorite without an asterisk, top Kentucky Derby contender Quality Road has popped another quarter crack, this time in his right front.

Ian McKinlay reported on April 23 that he will be patching the new crack, which he says is minor, probably on Saturday, after suturing it today. The foot has been soaked and poulticed. The poultice was pulled on Friday morning, Ian said, after being applied to draw out any infection before the patch is applied. He will lace it with sutures later today. The same procedure will be used on the front foot that was used on the hind, which includes suture-lacing and an embedded drain covered by a patch.

Quality Road has had a quarter crack in his right hind foot for the past 26 days; the first crack opened during or immediately after his record-setting win in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream on March 28. The crack was patched in Florida and then dried out and re-patched with a drain when the colt returned to Belmont Park in New York under the care of trainer Jimmie Jerkens. Recently he has been training well and looked solid; plans are to ship him to Kentucky to race in the Kentucky Derby on May 2.

As of this morning, no announcement had been made to scratch the horse from the Kentucky Derby. Ian said he thought the horse would be able to make the race, based on other cases he has worked on.

Ian remarked again on the immense size of the three-year-old colt. "I'm six-three, and I look just barely over this horse's butt," he said. "And he's wearing a size five. He's a very, very big horse with a small foot."

That comment brought to mind a section on Ian's new video, From the Ground Up, which includes interviews with many trainers and horseshoers about foot problems and quarter cracks. Bob Baffert talks about the curse of the size-five foot, but then says with satisfaction that War Emblem was an example of a small-footed horse that overcame it and won the Kentucky Derby.

Click here to read several previous articles from earlier this month about Quality Road's quarter cracks.

Click here for the April 6th account of Ian McKinlay's work on the hind foot quarter crack.

Note: From the Ground Up is premiering for sale during Derby week and can be ordered through the Hoof Blog. This 3.5 hour, 2-DVD set includes interviews with top trainers and riders from most disciplines including (to mention a few) Thoroughbred trainers Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas, and Richard Mandella, Standardbred driver John Campbell, Dressage rider Betsy Steiner, Reiner Bryant Pace, Hunter Rider Havens Schott, Jumpers Ian Millar and Anne Kursinski, Quarter Horse Halter Exhibitior Ted Turner, Veterinarians John Steele and Alan Donnell, and Farriers Dwight Sanders, Jim Bayes, Hank Joseph, Tom Curl, and Doyle Blagg.

The DVD covers the problems trainers have with hooves and the possible ways for trainers and farriers and veterinarians to each use expertise to aid in improving the horse's chances for soundness. Advanced cases of wall separations, white line diseases, quarter cracks, sheared heels and conformational problems are shown and some cases are reviewed with advanced treatment, and prevention is discussed.

The DVD set is $50 plus $5 post in USA, $12 post elsewhere; Visa and MasterCard accepted. To order call 978 281 3222 or email

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. 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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Fran,
I have heard a theory that horses with larger hooves can grip the Churchill Downs surface better. Do you have any information on which horses in the Derby might have unusually large (or small) hooves?