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Research being conducted by College of Veterinary Medicine faculty member Debra Taylor on whether training thoroughbred racing horses without shoes can improve their hoof health and performance could have a significant impact on the horseracing industry.

Taylor, associate professor of equine medicine in the Department of Clinical Sciences, recently returned from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, where she was invited by world renowned race horse trainer Mike De Kock and veteran farrier Declan Cronin, who assists De Kock in his training, to evaluate characteristics of the hoof as De Kock and Cronin conducted their training.

The research could be of vital interest in the racing industry, considering Kentucky Derby entry Mubtaahij, trained unshod by De Kock and Cronin, will be one of 20 horses running in the 141st Derby Saturday.

Mubtaahij won’t race in the Derby unshod but he has remained unshod at almost every other point of his training since he was a yearling, when De Kock acquired him for by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum of the Dubai Royal Family. To read more, see the news story.