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Hoof Injury Will Keep Ethereal Road Out Of Belmont Stakes

James Murphy
by in Horses on
  • Ethereal Road has a quarter crack and will not ship to New York for the Belmont Stakes.
  • Assuming that he recovers satisfactorily he’ll likely be pointed to the Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown on June 25.
  • The 2022 Belmont Stakes will be held on June 11, 2022 at New York’s Belmont Park.

On the eve of the Belmont Stakes post draw we’ve got another ‘prospective’ entrant to scratch off the list. This time, it’s D. Wayne Lukas’ Ethereal Road–who will forever be the answer to a trivia question since it was his late scratch from the Kentucky Derby that allowed eventual winner/also eligible Rich Strike to get into the field. Unlike the previous three horses to be removed consideration, Ethereal Road has an injury. Lukas announced earlier today that Ethereal Road has a quarter crack in his right front hoof:

“He popped a quarter crack. We’ll soak it and get him better and look for another one. I really wanted to run him in (the Belmont), I thought that’s the one he really fit. But the horse has the final say, so we’ll have to skip it.”

A quarter crack is an injury that occurs in the heel quarter of the horse’s hoof. They vary in severity, with the worst cases capable of causing lifelong and significant lameness. Here’s a good explanation:

A Quarter Crack is a vertical split in the hoof wall at the widest part of the hoof, on the side between the toe and the heel. While it can be caused by damage to the coronary band (where the hoof and hair meet) or damage to the hoof wall from infection or other hoof problem, a Quarter Crack is most often the result of abnormal hoof or limb conformation causing an incorrect landing pattern. This puts excess force on the hoof, causing it to crack where it is weakest.

Since his connections are already considering his next race options, we can assume that Ethereal Road’s quarter crack is relatively minor. The Daily Racing Form is reporting that the crack was laced together with wire and an acrylic patch placed over the damaged area. Trainer Lukas doesn’t think that Ethereal Road will be sidelined more than a few days:

“He’ll probably be good tomorrow or the next day. It’s just bad timing. It probably needs another 48 hours. It’s very fixable. But we enter tomorrow, and I couldn’t put him on a van. He’s a little tender on it. I don’t want to go unless he’s perfect”

Ethereal Road was withdrawn from consideration for the Kentucky Derby just five minutes before the deadline for entries. Lukas’ explanation suggested that the horse didn’t have his head in the game:

“You have to read the horse. Ethereal Road wasn’t as sharp and wasn’t as focused as he was earlier in the week.”

Ethereal Road returned in the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico on the Preakness ‘undercard’. He won convincingly over seven other overmatched competitors:

With Ethereal Road out of the race the list of ‘prospective entrants’ is down to eight. The post position draw is set for June 7 at 11 AM Eastern.


Barber RoadJohn OrtizReylu Gutierrez
Creative MinisterKenny McPeekBrian Hernandez, Jr.
Golden GliderMark CasseDylan Davis
Mo DonegalTodd PletcherIrad Ortiz, Jr.
NestTodd PletcherJose Ortiz
Rich StrikeEric ReedSonny Leon
SkippylongstockingSaffie Joseph, Jr.Manny Franco
We the PeopleRodolphe BrissetFlavien Pratt

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