Ive Struck a Nerve, the 135-1 upset winner of the Feb. 23 $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), sustained an ankle injury during a workout the morning of March 9 and will miss both the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Big Chief Racing and Paul Braverman's Ive Struck a Nerve posted a half-mile breeze in :48 2/5 just before 9 a.m. with jockey James Graham aboard. But he showed signs of discomfort shortly after returning to trainer Keith Desormeaux's barn to cool out.
"It was a beautiful work, the track was great, he came back great, James Graham loved the work, the time was legit and, as a matter of fact, it was above average," Desormeaux said when he met with the media this afternoon. "He cooled out for about 20 minutes, walked fine, went out to get his bath and was normal. As soon as he was done with his bath we could see that he was a little off in his left front ankle.
"We X-rayed it and it looks like he's got a fracture of a sesamoid. Not shattered. It is a serious injury but the prognosis is very favorable for a return to racing. But it's going to be a while, maybe six months.
"He's going to Kentucky to Rood & Riddle to pay a visit to Dr. (Larry) Bramlage. He's going to overlook the X-rays, maybe take some more, and then decide the best course of action.
Ive Struck a Nerve leads the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" standings with 51 points; he earned 50 from his Risen Star victory and one from a fourth-place effort in January's grade III Lecomte Stakes. On March 7 it was announced that Matt Bryan of Big Chief Racing had sold a minority interest in the Yankee Gentleman colt to Braverman.
"It's disappointing, but it would only be bad if the horse's life was in peril or if he was in severe pain," Desormeaux said. "I've dealt with this for 20 years; I've just never had it happen to a graded stakes winner. It's disappointing but we're a long way from being suicidal. The owner's very optimistic, we have other horses in the barn and we love the game.
"This horse will be well taken care of and he doesn't owe us anything. He's given us thrills beyond expectations so how can we be disappointed, really?"