Big Brown gallops nine furlongs

ELMONT, N.Y. -- Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown galloped 1 1/8 miles around Belmont Park's main track Wednesday morning, his most strenuous exercise since being diagnosed with a quarter crack in his left front foot last Friday.

Big Brown is preparing for a start in the June 7 Belmont Stakes, where he will attempt to become thoroughbred racing's 12th Triple Crown winner.

Exercise rider Michelle Nevin was aboard for the gallop, which started at 9:10 a.m. Big Brown was accompanied onto the track by a pony before leaving it at the mile pole. Big Brown galloped well out in the center of the track, looking comfortable with his ears up and with Nevin maintaining a stern hold of the reins.

"When we went out on the track he was bouncing a little bit; I didn't want him to be too strong or try and do too much, but he was very good," Nevin said. "The first furlong he was a little rough, then he settled right down, slowly relaxed, and let go of the bit."

Big Brown missed three days of training before returning to the track on Tuesday for a jog.

Ian McKinlay, the hoof lameness specialist who has cared for Big Brown's quarter crack, looked at Big Brown's foot briefly at 6:10 a.m., but did not do any work to the area. He said the injury is healing well on its own and he's happy with the progress. He said an abscess around the hairline drained, creating a small hole where he can put in a solution of iodine and alcohol to help dry up the area. He likened the situation to having a blister and wanting to let the skin dry up before removing it.

McKinlay said that by Friday he expects to put an acrylic path over the quarter crack.

"As far as patching, we'll come back Friday," he said. "Hopefully that skin will dry out and come off on its own. We're trying to stay out of the way and let nature take its course."

In other Belmont news:

• Casino Drive worked five furlongs in 1:12.52 over the main track. Because it was so slow, the work will not be recorded by Equibase as an official move. Nobutaka Tada, the racing manager for the colt's connections, said he canceled plans for a faster breeze after jockey Yoshi Aoki told him the horse didn't need it. Aoki was on Casino Drive's back for a 30-minute walk before the breeze.

As of 11:30 a.m., there was no announcement on who Casino Drive's Belmont Stakes jockey will be.

• Tomcito worked seven furlongs in 1:29.95 under Alan Garcia, who will ride him in the Belmont.