News that Kentucky Derby contender Girvin’s repeatedly delayed workout schedule is due to a quarter crack the colt incurred last week has many fans and handicappers rearranging their tickets to leave him off, according to the Paulick Report.
The observation a day prior of Z-bar shoes on both of the colt’s front feet had already raised concerns, but the shoes and the foot condition don’t necessarily guarantee the horse is preparing to throw a clunker.
Girvin’s quarter crack is in his right front foot, according to trainer Joe Sharp, although the colt had Z-bar shoes on both front feet earlier last week.
“Z-bar shoes can be very helpful especially when the shoe is designed and applied to shift load from the quarter to the frog,” says Eric Redden, podiatrist and veterinarian practicing in central Kentucky. “Having a super tough frog and keeping the hoof tough and durable greatly enhances the benefits of the Z bar.”
If Girvin goes to the post with one or two bar shoes, he hardly will be the first graded stakes horse to do battle with a quarter crack in the face of a big race.
In 1996, Unbridled’s Song was fitted with a bar shoe the week of the Derby after a quarter crack he suffered in the April 13 Wood Memorial worsened. The Unbridled colt initially had a patch and bar shoe, which provided temporary relief until the week of the race. Farrier Steve Norman applied a Z-bar shoe for trainer James Ryerson to provide temporary relief, before switching to egg bars for the first Saturday in May. The colt finished fifth after turning into the stretch with a two-length lead.
Northern Dancer, the 1964 Kentucky Derby winner, won the Remsen as a 2-year-old in a bar shoe designed to support a worsening quarter crack suffered the previous month.
Big Brown ran in the 2008 Belmont Stakes a few days after suffering a quarter crack (albeit, not well, as he was pulled up before the finish).
For others, a quarter crack can linger, or cause a horse to miss enough training to skip a planned start. A.P. Indy, Dortmund, Shared Belief, Quality Road, Bayern, Graydar, Ron the Greek, and Ivan Fallunovalot all defected from graded stakes over the years because of a last-minute quarter crack.