Insiders tell me there was much raising of eyebrows on the Churchill Downs backstretch yesterday morning when it was learned that Scat Daddy has been training up to the Kentucky Derby in a bar shoe. Such footwear has a plate running across the horseshoe that protects the frog, part of the bottom wall of the hoof that at once acts like a shock absorber and, like toes, if you will, helps a horse to grab the surface below.

While providing protection, bar shoes can prevent a horse from grabbing the surface in the best manner possible, especially on wet tracks. Bar shoes are not a positive sign but theyre not always the skull and cross-bones horseplayers often believe they are. Horses win wearing bar shoes, only not as often as they do without them.

Trainer Todd Pletcher indicated that Scat Daddy would not wear bar shoes on Saturday and that the colt has trained in them since he was a two-year-old. As the only two-time Grade 1 winner in the field, it doesn't look like bar shoes have impeded Scat Daddy's progress all that much.

Pletcher does not have a history of placing his horses over-aggressively, and the nations leading trainer wont run Scat Daddy in the Derby just to give him a better chance to win his first classic at the horses expense. Thats not Pletchers style. So take the bar shoe into account, but try not to over-think the situation.