French Assault will miss Sunday's Louisiana Derby (gr. II) due to a gasto-intestinal virus, according to trainer Keith Desormeaux.
"Honestly, this is the first time I've ever had a horse diagnosed with this sort of problem," Desormeaux said. "But I could tell he wasn't himself. He didn't really show any symptoms, but the blood test confirmed something was wrong."
Adam Richey and James Strodes son of French Deputy finished fourth in the Risen Star (gr. III) in his 3-year-old debut. As a juvenile, he won two of eight races but has yet to win a race scheduled for the main track. He earned a maiden win on turf at Lone Star Park and then won an off-the-turf El Joven Stakes by 11 3/4 lengths.
"It's disappointing, but that's the game," Desormeaux said of the illness. "We'll be back, it's not the end of the road."
Desormeaux said the $500,000 Lone Star Derby on May 11 might be a long-term goal for the chestnut colt if the virus doesn't force him to miss too much training.