Racing proved once again that the long shot isn’t racing just for fun. At
135-1 I’ve Struck a Nerve, with James Graham aboard, pulled off the upset in
the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds Race Course.
The son of Yankee Gentleman and Ranaway had to overcome more than just the odds in today's triumph. Facing a very tough field of 13 the first time stakes winner also had to maneuver from 12th place to 1st. But, they did it and the victory now makes I’ve Struck a Nerve your 2013 Kentucky Derby Points leader with 51 points.
of the gate there was a noticeable bobble by the post time favorite Normandy Invasion. The slow start put him well behind a field that was being led through
sharp fractions out front. Through the first quarter mile Proud Strike with
Gary Stevens in the irons was in the lead as they zipped through in :23.92.
Right to his outside was Code West followed by Agent.
this point in the race and the next split is where Jon Court began to call on Oxbow.
The move from 5th to 3rd left him only one length behind
Code West who had passed Proud Strike. The split at the half mile maker was :48.34.
here Oxbow continued to pursue the lead and eventually took it over before the ¾
mile pole. The pace stayed hot at 1:12.74 and it was now Oxbow’s race to lose.
At the top of the stretch he was still in front but he was beginning to feel
the heat as Palace Malice began to challenge and Code West refused to quit.
they hit the final furlong is when the long shot came charging from out of
nowhere. To make it happen he had to rally six wide through the final turn but
he still had more than enough left. With Palace Malice to his inside he drove
gamely by him all the way down to the wire. The effort also withstood an
admirable second effort by Code West along the rail.
photo and final charts gave I’ve Struck a Nerve the win by a nose. The final
time was clocked in 1:44.52. And how about these numbers; at 135-1 the pay out
|Pgrm #||Horse||Win ||Place ||Show|
|8||I've Struck a Nerve||$272.40||$110.60||$42.40|
|2||Code West|| ||$8.80||$5.60|
|6||Palace Malice|| || ||$4.60|
| || || || || |
| ||$2 Trifecta||17,787.60|| || |
| ||$2 Exacta||2,295.00|| || |
by Keith Desormeaux and Owned by Big Chief Racing the unlikely Kentucky Derby
contender could now be considered a lock for the 139th Kentucky
Derby. After he scored 1 point with a 4th place finish in the
Lecomte Stakes, today’s win brings him up to 51. Code West (20 points), trained
by Bob Baffert, and Palace Malice (10 points), trained by Todd Pletcher, both
scored for the very first time.
the race Keith Desormeaux stated that their intentions are to keep I’ve Struck
a Nerve in Louisiana and that he will return to race at the Fair Grounds in the
G2 Louisiana Derby on March 30th. Congratulations to I’ve Struck a
Nerve and all of the connections as this was the first Risen Star Stakes win
for all three.
but not out
a few entries in the Risen Star Stakes that were considered viable contenders
for the win, and the Kentucky Derby top 20, came up empty handed. The two that
standout the most are Normandy Invasion and Oxbow.
mentioned, Normandy Invasion had a very tough task ahead of him after the slow start. Although, he was confident enough to regroup and make
a solid run towards the end, it was not enough to finish inside the top four.
So, Normandy Invasion and his connections will have to decide what their next
move is from here. Hopefully they will push ahead and race into the
same fortunes that I’ve Struck a Nerve did today; a probable birth into the
139th Kentucky Derby.
for Oxbow, Bluegrass Hall and D. Wayne Lukas they too will have to hope for an improved
result next time out if they still hope to make the Kentucky Derby field.
Although he finished fourth and earned and an additional 5 points there is
still much work left to be done. He does however fare better than Normandy Invasion in points (16 to 6) but both horses will need to finish no worse than
2nd place their next time out. If so, they will gain an additional
40 points which will likely be enough to make it into the top 20.
If they win
they’ll have 100 points awarded to them and jump from the Kentucky Derby bubble
to a potential Kentucky Derby winner. As proven in the Risen Star Stakes, a win almost guarantees you an entry into the Kentucky Derby. So, missing out today is a tough break but the trail continues and the chance to make the starting gate is still within reach.