04/27/2017 12:56PM

Girvin tries to mend quarter crack in time for Kentucky Derby

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Trainer Joe Sharp is hopeful Girvin will heal quickly and be able to run in next Saturday's Kentucky Derby.

Louisiana Derby winner Girvin, recovering from a quarter crack in his right front hoof, swam and was treated in a hyperbaric chamber at the Kesmarc Rehabilitation facility in Lexington, Ky., on Thursday rather than training at Keeneland, trainer Joe Sharp said.

Sharp’s announcement of the quarter crack comes a week after the colt embarked on an unorthodox training schedule for the Kentucky Derby next Saturday at Churchill Downs. Last week, Girvin was taken from his base at the Churchill Downs Trackside training facility in Louisville to Keeneland to train there. Sharp said he wanted to have access to Keeneland’s synthetic training track as a means to avoid a wet dirt track at Trackside.

On Thursday, Sharp denied being untruthful in his stated reason for going to Keeneland, noting that the track at Churchill Downs Trackside has undergone repairs in the past couple weeks, and that training over a wet, sealed surface there would have been detrimental to a horse dealing with a troubled foot.

In the past week since the quarter crack was discovered – a couple of days before a scheduled work that was scrapped last weekend – Girvin has used treatment facilities in the Lexington area surrounding Keeneland, including five hyperbaric treatments at Kesmarc to aid in the healing of his foot and visiting the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital on Tuesday to be seen by a Hall of Fame equine podiatrist, Raul Bras.

Z-bar shoes that the colt was wearing at the time were removed, Sharp said, and Bras designed a specific bar shoe to suit Girvin’s feet. He was then given Wednesday off from training by Sharp before returning to Kesmarc on Thursday.

“Today, he is 200 percent better on it,” Sharp said.

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He said he didn’t anticipate Girvin needing more than a few days to recover from this quarter crack after the horse responded quickly to one earlier in the year. That’s why Sharp chose to jog the horse at Keeneland on Monday instead of breezing him that day, as he had originally planned.

Despite the foot setback, Sharp remains optimistic that Girvin can complete a scheduled workout at Keeneland on Saturday and have the fitness necessary to compete in the Kentucky Derby, even though the colt’s training has been interrupted and he was scheduled to swim again Friday instead of galloping at Keeneland.

“I wouldn’t be trying to get there if I didn’t think we could do it,” he said. “Each day, I’m a little more confident we can do it.”

– additional reporting by Nicole Russo and Jay Privman