Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Another setback ends Quality Road’s Derby bid


The plug was pulled on Quality Road’s troubled journey to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) on Monday morning, shaking up an already balanced group of top contenders.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said the quarter crack on Quality Road’s right front foot did not respond well enough to treatment to go ahead for with a five-furlong workout at Belmont Park on Monday. The Elusive Quality colt was scheduled to be shipped to Churchill Downs on Tuesday.

“It’s not terribly bad, but it’s not right,” said Jerkens, who trains Quality Road for owner-breeder Edward Evans. “He’s really sensitive on the quarter.”

Quality Road, who had battled a different quarter crack in his right hind foot since his track-record performance in the Florida Derby Presented by Blackberry (G1) on March 28, developed the second injury late last week. Equine hoof specialist Ian McKinlay applied an acrylic patch to the crack on Sunday morning, but the colt subsequently returned from a gallop with a tinge of blood.

After being treated with a drying agent and an antiseptic, the hoof was still sensitive Monday morning.

“It’s unfortunate,” said Evans, who listed the Preakness Stakes (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1) as possible targets for Quality Road.

“If this thing calms right down, he’ll be back on track,” McKinlay said.

Quality Road's absence will probably leave Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) winner I Want Revenge, Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Pioneerof the Nile, and Florida Derby runner-up Dunkirk as the top three choices for the Derby.

"To me, he was the horse to beat," trainer Bob Baffert said. "Jimmy Jerkens is a really good trainer and he’s got a really good horse. It’s a shame, because you don’t get too many chances with a really good horse like that for the Derby."