Quality Road did trainer Jimmy Jerkens a solid Wednesday morning, galloping a mile and three-eighths on the fast training track at Belmont Park and showing no ill-effects of a quarter crack on his right-hind hoof.

Jerkens, whose charge is considered among the top choices for the May 2 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, originally discovered the quarter crack in the winners’ circle following the Elusive Quality colt’s track-record performance in the Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 28, when he covered nine furlongs in 1:47.72 in a 1 ¾-length victory over even-money favorite Dunkirk.

A quarter crack is a crack that appears in the wall of the hoof, often starting at the coronary band – where the hoof meets the hair – and growing down. It can also start in the wall and move upward. It can be very painful if it gets infected.
A patch and bar shoe were placed on Quality Road, but Monday morning, there was a trickle of blood following a morning gallop.

“He galloped good this morning,” Jerkens said at his barn Wednesday. “The good thing is that he has never gone lame. It’s not bothering him, mentally. We took off the bar shoe. We put it on originally to keep it tight. But when you put the patch on, sometimes it will have the adverse effect with the bar shoe. So, we put on a regular shoe and he seemed to be fine.”

Jerkens has enlisted hoof specialist Ian McKinlay, who worked on 1997 Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold and, more recently, 2008 Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner Big Brown. A new patch and drain were put on at approximately 7 o’clock Wednesday morning.

“[Quarter cracks] are always serious, because you never know what direction it will go in,” Jerkens said. “You always worry about having a set-back. Still, it’s only been 11 days since the Florida Derby. It seems like a long time ago, with the shipping and all. You usually want to do something within 10 after a race. If he’s up to it, we’ll try to breeze him this weekend, either Friday or Saturday, depending on the weather and if everything is looking good/.”

Jerkens said that Quality Road, who is owned and bred by Edward P. Evans, would breeze on the training track after the mid-morning break.

“Eventually, I want to get him over to the main track,” said Jerkens, whose barn is a few steps away from the training track. “It’s a nice, long walk over there and a nice, long walk back, so he won’t be just going right out and right in again.”

If all remains on schedule, Jerkens will likely ship to Churchill Downs on Tuesday, April 28.

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NYRA will again offer a guaranteed $250,000 late Pick 4 on Saturday.

Additionally, Aqueduct fans will share in the action in the Midwest this weekend, as the Big A will offer wagering from Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. and from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.

Along with Keeneland’s full card, Aqueduct will accept wagering on the Maker’s Mark Mile/Toyota Blue Grass Double, which closes on Friday, April 10 before the start of the Maker’s Mark Mile at approximately 5:05 p.m.

The Toyota Blue Grass, Keeneland’s last major prep for the May 2 Kentucky Derby, goes to post at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday

Also on Saturday, the Big A will offer wagering at Oaklawn Park, including another Kentucky Derby prep -- the Arkansas Derby – at 6:41 p.m.

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A reminder that Aqueduct Racetrack will be closed on Easter Sunday, April 12, for both live racing and simulcasting.

The Big A will be open for simulcasting only on Monday and Tuesday, April 13-14. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. There is no admission or parking charge.

Live racing resumes at Aqueduct on Wednesday, April 15, with first race post at 1 p.m.