Sports Outside the Beltway

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown has hoof injury

This news comes two weeks before the horse tries to become the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years.

NEW YORK — Triple Crown contender Big Brown has a slight crack to his left front hoof, although trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. expressed confidence Sunday 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 of an 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 Sunday news conference outside his barn. “But Ian has us pretty well relaxed.”

The trainer 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 by Dutrow on Friday, 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 again in January.

McKinlay treated the cracked hoof with an iodine and alcohol solution Sunday, and said he will take a closer look Monday, perhaps patching it up and inserting a set of wires before stitching up the area.

This prediction could be wrong but I think Big Brown won’t race at the Belmont. A deal has already been made for this horse’s future as a stud. Racing him at Belmont risks this investment. That’s why I don’t think Big Brown will race.

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