06/05/2008 11:00PM

Big Brown has patch applied


ELMONT, N.Y. - Big Brown had an acrylic patch, to protect a quarter crack, put on the inside of his left front hoof shortly after noon Friday at Belmont Park by foot specialist Ian McKinlay, who said the procedure "was very routine."

Big Brown, the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, is to attempt a sweep of the Triple Crown on Saturday in the Belmont Stakes. He developed the quarter crack after his victory three weeks ago in the Preakness.

McKinlay said the procedure took about a half-hour.

"If that patch comes off, I might as well quit," McKinlay said. "That patch will stay on three or four months if we want. This is so run-of-the-mill."

McKinlay said he first had to "debride any loose material" in the crack, then "create a surface for the patch to bind to."

"There's a little bit of fiberglass, and a methacrylic patch," McKinlay said. "It's stronger than his hoof wall."

McKinlay said there was "no heat, no sign of infection" in the injured foot.

McKinlay said Big Brown, who has needed previous work on his troublesome feet, is "a super patient."

McKinlay said he got his first good night's sleep on Wednesday.

"Everything I see couldn't be better,"he said. "Everything just went letter perfect."

McKinlay, who lives in New Jersey, said he would not attend the race.

"I don't expect anything to go wrong," he said. "I'll be watching on TV with some friends and people from our church."

McKinlay also worked in Touch Gold before he won the 1997 Belmont. He described that injury, in which McKinlay had to rebuild a hoof wall that was severely injured in the Preakness, as far worse than that of Big Brown. Touch Gold denied Silver Charm's bid to sweep the Triple Crown.

Big Brown had a routine gallop of 1 1/2 miles on the main track after the renovation break on Friday morning at Belmont Park. His regular exercise rider, Michelle Nevin, was aboard.

Big Brown wore front leg wraps and rubber bell boots on his front feet. He did not change leads through the stretch.