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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Breeders Cup Lowlight Video: Quality Road-eo Gate Panic Delays the Classic

8 November 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoofblog at

All hail the supermare Zenyatta for her amazing, gutsy win of the Breeders Cup Classic yesterday. While her race will be replayed again and again for years to come, if you missed the race on television you didn't see the starting gate mishap that lead to Quality Road being scratched. Here's a clip of that portion of the race from the Partymanners racing archive. This footage would otherwise be lost to history, and includes an update from AAEP Veterinarian-on-Call Dr. Larry Blamlage of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky.

I hate to see a horse in such distress anytime, let alone on national television. The gate crew are well-schooled in handling these situations but this horse--whom many of you will remember for his famous quarter cracks--narrowly avoided hurting himself, his rider and people on the ground. I know he is a very big horse and I was happy to hear that he is ok today.

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Anonymous said...


Doesn't Quality Road, EQUINE SPEAK tell us that,the message is, "I have 1/4 crack problems, when I race it hurts me, so I will commit suicide rather than cause myself further pain!!".

Fran Jurga said...

Hi Anonymous,

To the best of my knowledge, quarter cracks are history for this horse and since recovering from them, he broke the track record at Saratoga, so I don't think his feet are the problem. Apparently he's always been hard to load...but usually lightning-fast once let loose. Quality Road's three-year-old career has been all highs and lows, not much in between. I hope he gets a chance to really run sometime.

Anonymous said...


Different horses suffer differing responses to foot pain. Some jib, some jump and run like hell, others won't go fast enough to get warm.

I spoke with Monty Roberts about this IMPRINTING due to pain association a while ago, he had some interesting thoughts then!!

Fran Jurga said...

Anonymous, perhaps you work for Todd Pletcher or Mr. Evans and have inside information on Quality Road. I can only go by what I saw in Saratoga and have been told since.

Monty Roberts will also tell you that there are many reasons why horses panic at the gate, especially a huge horse like Quality Road going into a tight space like that. He'd barely fit!

Horses do recover from foot injuries. It is not a life sentence, nor are foot injuries always career-ending. I hope Quality Road gets a chance to run again and show off his beautiful stride.

Anonymous said...


Both Acute and Chronic Pain have subtle influence upon Equine response, its modified behaviour differs greatly between a horse and another horse. Its tollerances to situation are relevent to each individual "DUMB" animal, these tollerances can only be dectected by human observation and modified with support from human influence.

Getting back to the Great Horse "Quality Road", maladies do get better and equine response does alter whith the right stimulation [Monty R and IM's 1/4 crack repair included here] often quite quickly as well.

My dearest hope for any horse is that the career path chosen for it animal will continue in the future, and that like yourself we will again see the truly great horse come willing back on the race track.

Fran, I applaud you for this "Hoof Blitz" platform!! It has the potential to change established thinking!!

T.N. Trosin said...

Oh for crying out loud Frannie, this is why I hate the flipping internet there is always a conspiracy.
At some point you have to quit indulging anonymous people and hit the delete button.
Your right when you say the issue is the fact that the horse is tough to gate, end of story.