Hours before the Kentucky Derby was set to begin, the early favorite, Forte, was unfortunately scratched from the race due to concerns regarding a bruised right front foot. Co-owner Mike Repole confirmed the news and stated that Kentucky Horse Racing Commission veterinarians had raised concerns about the horse’s health.
The scratch of Forte was the fifth this week from the $3-million race, marking the first time that many horses had been scratched since 1936. It’s worth noting that in 1936, 19 horses were entered, and only 14 were able to run.
Trainer Todd Pletcher had downplayed the horse’s stumble on the track during a workout on Thursday, but state veterinarians arrived at Pletcher’s barn early on Saturday to observe and examine Forte, who had galloped on the track before jogging outside the barn.
Forte had an impressive five-race winning streak and was initially the early 3-1 favorite, which made his scratch all the more devastating. Irad Ortiz Jr., his jockey, was set to ride him but has now been assigned to ride Cyclone Mischief.
In addition to Forte’s scratch, five horses had tragically died at Churchill Downs in recent days, including two trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., whose Derby horse, Lord Miles, was also scratched. Joseph Jr. was suspended by the track following the incidents.
While the scratch of Forte is undoubtedly disappointing for his owners, trainers, and jockey, the health and welfare of the horses must always come first. The Kentucky Derby is a grueling test of stamina and skill, and every horse must be in optimal condition to compete.
The Derby Favorite Poised for Greatness, Kentucky Derby is a highly anticipated event for horse racing enthusiasts worldwide. This year, all eyes are on the favorite, Forte. The three-year-old colt has been making waves on the track, impressing trainers and bettors alike. With an impressive pedigree, a talented jockey, and a winning record, Forte is poised for greatness.
Forte was sired by the legendary stallion Tapit, a three-time leading sire of the United States. Tapit has sired several champions, including Tonalist, Frosted, and Creator. Forte’s dam, Mia Torri, was also a talented racehorse, winning three of her eight starts. Her pedigree includes Storm Cat and Mr. Prospector, two of the most influential sires of the 20th century.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Forte has already established himself as a talented racehorse. He made his debut last year at Del Mar, finishing second in a maiden special weight race. He followed that up with a win in his second start at Santa Anita. In his third start, he finished third in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. He then won the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes, solidifying his position as a top contender for the Kentucky Derby.
Forte’s jockey, John Velazquez, is also no stranger to the winner’s circle. Velazquez has won the Kentucky Derby twice, aboard Animal Kingdom in 2011 and Always Dreaming in 2017. He has also won the Belmont Stakes three times, the Breeders’ Cup Classic twice, and numerous other prestigious races.
Forte’s recent workouts have been impressive, showing that he is in top form leading up to the Kentucky Derby. He worked five furlongs in 59.80 seconds, the second-fastest time of the day, on April 18 at Santa Anita. He followed that up with another strong workout on April 25, covering six furlongs in 1:13.60.
With all of these factors in his favor, Forte is the clear favorite for the Kentucky Derby. But as any seasoned horse racing fan knows, anything can happen on race day. There are several other talented horses in the field, including Essential Quality, Known Agenda, and Hot Rod Charlie. Forte will need to bring his A-game to the race if he hopes to emerge victorious.
Regardless of the outcome, Forte’s performance on race day is sure to be impressive. He has already established himself as a top contender, and his future looks bright. Whether he wins the Kentucky Derby or not, Forte is a horse to watch in the coming months and years as he continues to showcase his talent on the track.