04/06/2009 12:00AM

Quality Road has quarter crack

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Quality Road, considered among the top three candidates for the May 2 Kentucky Derby, has a quarter crack in his right hind foot, making his status for the Run for the Roses a bit uncertain.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Monday morning that he is "very concerned" about the situation but that it would be premature to say the horse can't make the Derby,

"You hope it was resolved by now, that's for sure, but he's not out of it yet,"said Jerkens, who trains Quality Road for owner/breeder Ed Evans. "The fact that he's not lame from it is a good thing."

Jerkens said he noticed the quarter crack in the winner's circle of the Florida Derby, which Quality Road won at Gulfstream Park on March 28. Quality Road had a patch put on the crack while still in Florida and he even trained last Wednesday morning at Palm Meadows before shipping back to New York.

By Friday afternoon, however, Jerkens noticed that Quality Road "wouldn't put all his weight on" his right hind foot.

Ian McKinlay, the noted hoof specialist who worked on dual-classic winner Big Brown last year, saw the horse Friday and pulled the old patch and put on a three-quarter bar shoe. He saw the horse again Sunday and put in a set of wires to stabilize the crack. On Monday, Quality Road galloped at Belmont, Jerkens said, but came back to the barn with blood dripping from the area.

"He galloped this morning and he was absolutely sound on it, but it did trickle a little blood, which means there's still some friction going on in there," Jerkens said. "We have to get that inflammation out before we do anything."

Quality Road's foot was treated with Animalintex, which contains a mild antiseptic plus a natural poultice agent designed to draw heat out of the foot. Quality Road would likely not train on Tuesday and McKinlay said he would examine the colt Wednesday morning at Belmont.

"He's very sound, there's just heat in there. That's one of my main worries always is heat," McKinlay said.

Jerkens believes he could still make the Derby if he is able to get two good works into Quality Road, who is scheduled to leave for Kentucky on April 28.

Quality Road, a son of Elusive Quality, has won 3 of 4 starts, including the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth.