It's the first Saturday in May. Theories abound about how to pick the winner of the Kentucky Derby, but there's no doubt that the feet come first in the hearts and minds of Hoof Blog readers. With the help of wonderful people in the racing industry, this article is a collection of as much as is known about the hooves of the fast and famous.
Update: Congratulations to California's Jim Jimenez, horseshoer for 2016 Kentucky Derby winner, Nyquist!
First of all, you can check the Hoof Blog's chart of Kentucky Derby entries, their connections and their horseshoers. Find it here.
Special thanks to Steve Norman, Wes Champagne, Jim Jimenez and Curtis Burns for providing confirmation on our statistics (so far) this year.
Nyquist was the most photographed horse in Louisville this week. The favorite kindly shared his hoof gear with Rob Carr this week. California's Jim Jimenez shoes Nyquist, who was obviously wearing Kerckhaert raceplates. Jim already has a Derby winner on his resume: he shod I'll Have Another in 2012 for the same owner and trainer: Paul Reddam and Doug O'Neil.
Nyquist front feet:
Known horses, their post positions, their shoers and previous winners for that shoer (if known):
2 Suddenbreakingnews David Hinton (shod Curlin and Rachel Alexandra)
3 Creator David Hinton
5 Gun Runner David Hinton
6 My Man Sam Broadus Brothers Horseshoeing
9 Destin Steve Norman* (shod Derby winners War Emblem, Go for Gin, Alysheba)
11 Exaggerator Judd Fisher (shod Derby winner California Chrome)
12 Tom's Ready Broadus Brothers Horseshoeing
13 Nyquist Jim Jimenez (shod Derby winner I'll Have Another)
14 Mohaymen Mark Dewey
15 Outwork Steve Norman*
16 Shagaf Broadus Brothers Horseshoeing
17 Mor Spirit Wes Champagne (shod Triple Crown winner American Pharoah)
19 Brody's Cause Gary Churchman
20 Danzing Candy Robert Sise (only horse confirmed wearing glue-on shoes)
That's at least six Derby winners spread between eight horseshoers, and there are probably many more that aren't in the Hoofcare and Lameness statistics (yet). Did you shoe one of the other horses or have more stats? Help fill in the blanks!
Note: all these horseshoers have champions to their credit, they just aren't on record.
Nyquist feet during bath:
Destin and Outwork have an asterisk next to their names for a simple reason. Steve Norman really did shoe them for Todd Pletcher this week.
Earlier this week, I interviewed New York horseshoer Ray Amato, Jr., who mentioned that he and his dad, Ray Amato, Sr., would not be making the trip to Louisville this year. They did, however, shoe Outwork and Destin while they trained in Florida this winter. Ray didn't know if the trainer would want the horses shod again right before the race, as is often the case. That turned out to be the situation.
I'm sure Outwork and Destin are not along; there are surely other horses with teams of horseshoers at different tracks who helped them get to the Derby.
Nyquist hind shoe during training:
So far, Danzing Candy is the only horse confirmed to be wearing glue-on shoes. He has Burns Polyflex glue-on shoes made of polyurethane on his front feet, stuck there by California horseshoer Robert Sise. He's the son of the horse's trainer, Clifford Sise, Jr.
Polyflex shoes were also on Curalina yesterday when she won the Grade 1 La Troienne. That's poetic justice, since her sire, Curlin, was one of the first horses to win Grade 1 stakes races wearing Polyflex shoes. One of his glue-on shoes is in the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Saratoga.
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