Ky Derby decision on Quality Road hangs in the breeze

On Saturday, Kentucky Derby hopeful Quality Road jogged the Belmont Park track and his slight quarter crack appeared stable. So it seemed, all systems were go for the big race next Saturday.

But after a mile and three-quarter Sunday gallop, the crack on his right front foot emitted a tinge of blood.

And that was enough to get trainer Jimmy Jerkens thinking about doing the unthinkable: scratching the Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth winner. It’s not that Quality Road didn’t look great on the track, but Jerkens said that the Derby is no place to send a horse who is at anything less than his best.  

“He galloped the way he usually does,” Jerkens told Joe Drape of the New York Times. “I would have been more optimistic with no blood.”

So it all comes down to today. 

Quality Road is scheduled to breeze five-eighths of a mile on the Belmont Park training track.  If it goes well, then Quality Road will be in the Churchill Downs starting gate on Saturday, and Jerkens might be smelling roses a few  minutes later.

But if the colt seems weakened at all by the crack, then the plane headed from New York City to Louisville on Tuesday will leave without him.

“He needs to work to our liking and come out perfect,” said the cautious Jerkens. “If he takes one bad step — forget it.”

Minor quarter crack unlikely to sideline Quality Road

Although Quality Road developed a new quarter crack, the hoof specialist working on the injury said he believes the colt will run in the Kentucky Derby on May 2.

Ian McKinlay told Fran Jurga’s Hoof Blog that the crack on his right front hoof is minor and Quality Road is in no pain. About a month ago, the Florida Derby winner also developed a quarter crack on his right hind foot, and McKinlay said the cracks are forming because Quality Road’s feet are disproportionately small when compared to the rest of his body.

“He’s a very, very big horse with a small foot,” McKinlay told Jurga.

Quality Road, who recovered from the first crack, has been training well and plans are for the horse to jog on Saturday, gallop on Sunday and breeze on Monday. If he’s sound on Tuesday, then Quality Road will ship to Churchill Downs, said trainer Jimmy Jerkens.

“Right now, he’s absolutely sound,” Jerkens said.

Partying Paris jets off to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby

Paris Hilton, left, and Kim Kardashian will both be hosting Ky Derby parties

Paris Hilton, left, and Kim Kardashian will both be hosting Ky Derby parties

The party never really starts until Paris Hilton arrives.

And with the Kentucky Derby just eight days away, it’s no surprise she’ll be in Louisville living it up with other famous people who have nothing to do with horse racing.

Hilton will be going to the Barnstable-Brown Derby Eve Gala, which is known as one of the top 10 parties in the world, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal’s website. The celebrity packed function is held every year at the Louisville home of Patricia Barnstable-Brown, and the 21st annual gala held on May 1 raises money to benefit diabetes research.

Afterward, Hilton and her boyfriend Doug Reinhardt will host the official Barnstable-Brown after-party at The Sports and Social Club in Louisville.

“With Paris and Doug adding to this year’s celebrity lineup, this party’s sure to be talked about for years to come. Paris Hilton will definitely be one of the hottest fillies in Kentucky,” said Barnstable-Brown in a news release.

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