The following, provided by the New York Racing Association, is the text of an interview between trainer Jimmy Jerkens and reporters about the highly regarded Kentucky Derby prospect Quality Road, who has had a second quarter crack repaired.
Opening Statement from Jimmy Jerkens, trainer of Quality Road:
“It was decided just to give him a jog today because he hadn’t had much time for the crack to dry out. So, instead of galloping him, which probably would have put a little too much stress on him, we just jogged him a couple of miles, and he handled that very well and jogging obviously is a lot easier on the horse in all ways, respiration wise and on the legs, than galloping. It’s not quite as good a conditioner…but it’s all we could do to be on the safe side, and he came back, the crack looked dry and there was no blood seeping from it; so we’re planning on patching him at 7 o’clock tomorrow morning and galloping him at about 9:20 after the second harrow break.”
Question from Jennie Rees, Louisville Courier-Journal: “Jimmy, can you comment on the composition of his feet? Does he have anything in his hooves…that would make him susceptible to quarter cracks?”
Jerkens: “You know, for a horse this size, the foot seems to have a nice enough shape to it, it’s nice and round, but it is, in comparison to the rest of him, a little on the small side and his walls are kind of thin, which might be hereditary. I had a three-quarter sister to him, last year…and we had a horrible time with her. We were forever patching quarter cracks up, matter of fact there got to be a point where we didn’t really think it was worth going on anymore, and she’s a broodmare now; so it certainly looks like it could be hereditary.”
Question from Jennie Rees: “Did you have any problems with him as a 2-year-old? Is it connected in any way to the fact that he only raced once as a 2-year-old?”
Jerkens: “No, no, not at all. The first sign of it was right around Florida Derby time. Honestly, we didn’t have any problem at all with his feet up until then.”
Question from Jennie Rees: “He had that really good three-quarter work last week (6f in 1:12.19 April 17 over the Belmont Park training track), I mean how important was [having that work] now that…you had to jog him today instead of gallop him?”
Jerkens: “Now it looks like it was good we had that work under our belt, that’s for sure. But still, that was quite awhile ago, and we’ll definitely have to do some thing by Monday to be prepared. A mile and a quarter against the best horses in the country, you don’t want to be going in there short of condition, that’s for sure.”
Question from Tim Wilkin, Albany Times Union: “How confident are you this horse will be ready to run a week from today?”
Jerkens: “Well, the way things are going, pretty confident. I’m usually negative about everything by nature, but the way he responded off of the last one, and Ian’s (McKinlay, hoof specialist) reassurance, and the fact that he hasn’t been sore, weight-bearing sore on it – he’s been sore on just that one spot on top of the hairline when you press it, but he still has no soreness whatsoever when he’s bearing weight on it, which is a big thing.”
Question from Tim Wilkin: “How much can this affect him a week from today?”
Jerkens: “Well, it shouldn’t affect him at all – if we put the patch on, and he works well with it and comes out of it without any problems, we shouldn’t have any problems. Usually when you get the patch on, you have no problems; it’s almost like having a regular foot.”
Question from Jerry Bossert, New York Daily News: “The forecast in Kentucky calls for a lot of thunderstorms, and possibly rain, will that play any part into it with the hoof and the patch and everything?”
Jerkens: “No, once we get that far up to race day…you mean as far as running in the mud worsening the quarter crack, is that what you mean?”
Question from Jerry Bossert: “I just mean, with a quarter crack and moisture, I’m not a hoof specialist, so I’m just curious how it all works together.”
Jerkens: “I wouldn’t worry about the existing quarter crack in the mud, I’d be worrying about maybe a hard mud causing another one.
Question from Jerry Bossert: “Well, what happens if they seal the track and make it hard, would that put more pressure then on the hoof?”
Jerkens: “Yeah, anytime a base is hard, it puts pressure on anything on a horse. The foot’s the first thing to hit the ground, so it’s going to absorb most of the shock, that’s for sure.”
Question from Joe Drape, The New York Times: “I want to make sure I’m clear – you said something about you need to get some work into him Monday; so what is the next two days and what will decide if he goes or not?”
Jerkens: “Tomorrow he’ll have to get a patch applied, and then he’ll have to respond good to the patch, which he should because there’s no infection in there. But sometimes when you do put a patch on and they exercise on it, some pressure builds up underneath it if the patch isn’t stabilizing it enough, it will cause some friction and then you’ll get some pressure, you’ll get some soreness.
“So, he’ll have to get the patch tomorrow, and gallop sound, and come out of the gallop sound, and if he comes out of the gallop sound, I would be really surprised if he was to work on it and have any problem. So tomorrow is the big day as far as finding out where we’re going.”
Question from Joe Drape: “Is there going to be another breeze, let’s say he comes out sound, and would that be here [at Churchill Downs] or there?”
Jerkens: “Well, that would be Monday [in New York] if the race is only Saturday. What I’ve been doing with him in all his races is just let him breeze a quarter down the stretch the morning before and that’s probably what we’ll do this time, but it depends on a few things. If the track ends up being sloppy or something like that, I might forego that. But I would like to have him stretch his legs down the stretch the day before, I always like to give horses a little blowout like that before they run, especially when they’re running long.”
Question from Churchill Downs notes team: “Will there be anything different as far as shoes go with this horse, given the problems?”
Jerkens: “Nope, we’ve got our standard shoe, XP, on him. We don’t even have him three-quartered, sometimes you’ll three-quarter a horse – [put] a three-quarter shoe on the inside to keep pressure off the quarter – but in this instance, where the crack is, Ian thought it would be better to have a full shoe to further support the foot to keep it from spreading, so he’s got a regular full size shoe on both feet in front. Matter of fact, he’s shod now the way he’s going to run for the Derby.
Question from Dick Downey, The Downey Profile: “It’s been reported that you noticed the first quarter crack he had in the winner’s circle after the Florida Derby, and I just wanted to see if that was completely accurate?”
Jerkens: “Yeah, he came into the winner’s circle, and he had a trace of blood on the hoof in behind that you could see.”