By Dick Downey
One day after Ive Struck a Nerve paid $272.40 in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes, trainer Keith Desormeaux wanted to talk Derby. Two of them.
Desormeaux, a native of Lafayette, Louisiana, has been a Fair Grounds-based conditioner for over 10 years and is the older brother of Kent Desormeaux. He said that fitness has been the key to moving forward.
“Fit horses don’t get hurt so easily,” Desormeaux said. “My horse came back from his race just fine and ate up everything last night and this morning. He keeps good weight on him, and he’s heavy-boned.
“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, but that’s not my style,” said Desormeaux. “My horse is fit, and it’s a lot easier to train an athlete that is fit."
During joyous the winner's circle celebration on Saturday -- with plans for the Kentucky Derby being made -- Desormeaux brought matters back to Earth a bit by mentioning the Grade I Louisiana Derby and its $1 million purse.
“We’d be crazy not to run in (it),” said Desormeaux on Sunday. “Plus, we have to represent the home team.”
“We’re having fun with this horse,” Desormeaux said about he and the owner, Matt Bryan. “We went out to dinner last night, talked about the future and had a lot of laughs.”
The Louisiana Derby will celebrate its 100th anniversary edition on March 30.