Risen Star Stakes winner Ive Struck a Nerve will make his next start in the $1 million Louisiana Derby on March 30 at Fair Grounds. The 3-year-old is trained by Keith Desormeaux for owner Mark Bryan.
"We'd be crazy not to run in the Louisiana Derby," said Desormeaux. "Plus, we have to represent the home team.
"I suppose, like a lot of modern horsemen, I could buy into the theory that fresh is better, and try to train my horse up to the Kentucky Derby off of his race yesterday (Saturday), but that's not my style. My horse is fit, and it's a lot easier to train an athlete that is fit."
Ive Struck a Nerve won the Risen Star as a 135-1 longshot even though he finished fourth to Oxbow (fourth in Risen Star) in the Lecomte Stakes in New Orleans.
"Every time this horse has gone a distance he's had some kind of trouble," the trainer said after the win. "We have talked about it several times, Matt Bryan and I, and we just wanted a clean trip at a distance and if he got beat 14- lengths again we'd quit trying but we have had trouble every trip and James (jockey James Graham) rode him perfectly and obviously he proved what Matt and I knew that he is a nice horse."
Part of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series, winning the Risen Star was worth 50 points toward the 3-year-old starting on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs.
"My horse came back from his race just fine," Desormeaux said Sunday, "and ate up everything last night and this morning. He keeps good weight on him, and he's heavy-boned.
"We're having fun with this horse. We went out to dinner last night, talked about the future and had a lot of laughs."
Ive Struck a Nerve notched his second career victory and first in a stakes. The Risen Star win was worth $240,000 to bring the 3-year-old's earnings to $305,790 in nine starts.
"I called my wife and told her to get fitted for a Derby hat. As long as I live I will re-live this race over and over. We have been waiting for a clean trip and we got it today. Once he got free on the outside we went absolutely crazy," Matt Bryan commented following the Risen Star. "There is no doubt we will try the Louisiana Derby. Then, who doesn't want to go to Louisville, right? That's why we all get in this crazy business."