Florida Derby winner Quality Road, who was expected to go off as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby (G1) on Saturday, was scratched out of the Run for the Roses on Monday morning by trainer Jimmy Jerkens. He had a quarter crack on his right hind foot discovered after the Florida Derby which was patched, but last week he developed another quarter crack in his right front foot. Hoof specialist Ian McKinlay who worked on Big Brown last year did similar work on Quality Road.
After a 1 3/4 mile gallop Sunday on the Belmont training track, Jerkens found a spot of blood on the newly patched crack. McKinlay said, "This is live tissue. We're not changing a flat tire, so there are a lot of judgment calls. He's tender in the heel; it never went away. As big as he is, he is aggravating it because of how hard he hits the ground."
Because of the setback, Jerkens was to have worked the horse Monday morning before deciding whether to ship the horse to Churchill Downs, but the workout was cancelled. Quality Road's last official workout was back on April 10.
Jerkens said, "We couldn't train him so we decided we couldn't run him. He just isn't sound enough. It's not terribly bad; it's just not right. If he takes one bad step anywhere, forget it. I would have liked to have seen no blood but it didn't surprise me because he was still tender. A mile-and-a-quarter against the best horses in the country, you don't want to be going in short of conditioning. I don't know if I'd ever get another horse into the Derby with his credentials. Honestly, we didn't have any problem at all with his feet up until (the Florida Derby). The foot seems to have a nice enough shape to it, it's nice and round, but in comparison to the rest of him, a little on the small side and his walls are kind of thin, which might be hereditary."
Chris Baker, farm manager for owner Edward Evans' Spring Hill Farm added, "There was some tenderness in the foot this morning and he's not 100%. Jimmy wasn't comfortable breezing him, and without a work, he can't go. He's not going to make the race." Jerkens and owner Edward Evans might consider entering in the Preakness or Belmont depending on how well he recovers.