Injury Shouldn't Slow Big Brown's Triple Crown Quest

Big Brown's perfect path has its first bump.

The unbeaten Triple Crown contender has a slight crack on his
left front hoof, although trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. was confident the
injury won't keep his colt from running in the Belmont Stakes in
less than two weeks.

However, 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 long quarter crack on the inside of his
left heel.

"We're all concerned because there's a big race coming up,"
Dutrow said outside his barn. "But Ian has us pretty well relaxed.
He's telling me it's nothing and he'll be fine in a few days."

Unlike the two-week turnaround between the Derby and the Preakness, there's a three-week break before the Belmont on June 7. Good thing, too, especially if the injury heals by Thursday as Dutrow is hoping.

"If it was two weeks we would be nervous, but this way I'm as
cool as we can be," Dutrow said. "It's bad that this happened,
but it's good that it happened at this time."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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