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Barn Notes: Friday, November 22

In Today's Notes: Keith Desormeaux: Ive Struck a Nerve Improving on Comeback Trail; Brown Almighty Now in Trainer Mike Stidham's Barn

Whatever happened to Ive Struck a Nerve, the promising sophomore star now owned by Big Chief Racing and Paul Braverman who paid $272.40 to win on Louisiana Derby Preview Day last February at Fair Grounds Racecourse & Slots?  Remember the scenario – how the colt got up to win the Grade II Risen Star Stakes under a brilliant ride by James Graham, then breezed a half-mile in 48:40 prior to the $1 million Louisiana Derby only to come up lame shortly after that move with a fractured sesamoid  subsequently resulting in successful surgery?

Trainer Keith Desormeaux was asked about Ive Struck a Nerve last week.  How is his potential big horse doing these days?

“He’s coming along fine,” said Desormeaux.  “I’m hopeful that I can have him back with me here sometime around the first of the year.”

However, having weathered the disappointment of Ive Struck a Nerve’s injury with admirable restraint, Desormeaux was asked how the rest of the year has gone for him.

“We’ve had a good year,” Desormeaux said.  “We won a $100,000 stake at Golden Gate (the Pike Place Dancer Stakes at one mile on the turf Oct. 26) with a real nice filly named (Big Chief Racing’s) Miss Machiavelli.

“However, we also have a very promising young colt named (Don’t Tell My Wife Stables’) Flat Gone,” Desormeaux said.  “I’m running him in the Grade III Delta Jackpot this Saturday.  So I think it’s been a good year, and, hopefully, we’re not done yet.”

Flat Gone, an entire son of Flatter, finished fifth in Santa Anita’s Grade I Front Runner Sept.28 and was most recently third in the $200,000 Jean Lafitte at Delta Downs Oct. 26.

Saturday’s Delta Jackpot for 2-year-olds carries a $1 million purse and will be contested at 1 1/16-miles.

Desormeaux finished in the top 10 of Fair Grounds trainer standings for the first time last season, saddling 20 winners, 11 seconds and nine thirds from 108 starters, with purse earnings of $631,010.


BROWN ALMIGHTY NOW IN TRAINER MIKE STIDHAM’S BARN —Trainer Mike Stidham, perennially among the top 10 in the final trainer standings at Fair Grounds Racecourse & Slots each season, now has Tri-Star Racing, Joe Denson and Brent Gasaway’s Brown Almighty in his barn at the New Orleans oval and the one-time highly regarded 2013 Triple Crown prospect by 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown breezed a bullet five furlongs last Saturday in 1:01.

Brown Almighty, who has not run since finishing ninth in the Grade III Arlington Classic last May 28, began his career with a maiden score first asking at Arlington in 2012, followed that with a tally in the $50,000 Sunny’s Halo at Louisiana Downs, was runner-up by a neck in the $150,000 Sunday Silence there and was then placed second in the Grade III Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland before disappointing in his next six starts.

“I think we’re likely to run him in the ($75,000) Woodchopper (about one mile at Fair Grounds Nov. 30),” Stidham said.

Another Big Brown 3-year-old colt in Stidham’s barn is West Point Thoroughbreds et al.’s Ground Transport, winner of back-to-back races at Fair Grounds last season before finishing fifth in the 100th running of the $1 million Louisiana Derby.

However, his three races since then – a ninth in the Grade III Illinois Derby at Hawthorne, an eighth in the $65,000 Straight Line Stakes over the Arlington Polytrack and a last-place finish on the turf course at Keeneland Oct. 26 have been disappointing.

“We’ve had to start from scratch – go back to basics with him,” said Stidham.  “We’ve been experimenting.  We tried the grass and tried the Polytrack, so now we’re probably going to start all over with dirt sprinting.”

Almost annually at this time of year, another Stidham staple is a crop of 2-year-olds who will turn into 3-year-olds in a few weeks, and Stidham was asked if he had any of those.

“I have one filly named Istanford (owned by Ike Thrash, Dawn Thrash and Sam Alley) who ran fifth in the (Grade III Arlington-Washington) Lassie,” said Stidham.  “She broke her maiden by five lengths in her first start.  I also have a filly named (Steve Mongerson’s) Curlins Queen who is still a maiden but has shown me some potential.

“I also have a young colt named (Twin Creeks Racing Stables and Brent Gasaway’s) Kids Rule,” said Stidham.  “He broke his maiden on the grass at Arlington first time out and looks like he might be a nice one.”

Kids Rule, it should be noted, is a son of 1999 Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid out of Broad Brush mare and has the pedigree to go a distance of ground.