NEW YORK --Triple Crown contender Big Brown has a slight crack to his left front hoof, although trainer Rick Dutrow expressed confidence yesterday that the injury won't keep his colt from running in the Belmont Stakes in less than two weeks.
But the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner has missed two days of training at Belmont Park and will miss at least several more while being treated by hoof specialist Ian McKinlay for a five-eighths-inch crack on the inside of his left heel.
"We're all concerned because there's a big race coming up," Dutrow said at a news conference outside his barn yesterday. "But Ian has us pretty well relaxed."
The Hagerstown native said he was 100 percent confident Big Brown would be in top form when he attempts to become the first Triple Crown champion since Affirmed in 1978. "I sure am," he said.
The injury was detected Friday by Dutrow, who wasn't sure what the problem was, so he summoned McKinlay, who treated Big Brown for more serious front foot issues - abscesses in the soles of each of his front feet that led to wall separations - last year and in January.