In a week filled with awful news for horse racing at Churchill Downs, another shocker on the day of the Kentucky Derby.
Forte, the 2-year-old champion and winner of 6 of 7 starts has been scratched from the Run for the Roses.
Kentucky Derby favorite Forte scratched in stunning turn of events https://t.co/Mw81n204d2 via @USATODAY
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) May 6, 2023
The decision was made by trainer Todd Pletcher and the horse’s connections due to a bruised right front foot.
Forte takes a jog for the state vet as his Derby fate remains in limbo. pic.twitter.com/7H9IfZP6bY
— Will Clark (@WClark_TV) May 6, 2023
This comes after multiple horses have already been scratched from the first leg of the Triple Crown due to illness.
Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. was suspended by Churchill Downs and his Derby entrant Lord Miles was scratched after two of his horses died in races.
A brutal week for the sport of horse racing.
Forte was the favorite in the early betting, hovering between 4-1 and 7-2.
There had been a buzz all was not right with Forte, who already has won four Grade 1 stakes, but his connections said the horse was fine … until Saturday morning when he was declared out of the race.
Per USA Today:
(Owner Mike) Repole said Saturday morning that he was “shocked, sad and devastated” after the state vet scratched Forte because he “seemed off a tick.” The owner said Forte had a bruise earlier in the week but that multiple vets had taken a look and said the horse was fine.
Repole, a self-made billionaire who co-founded the company that made Vitaminwater, had to scratch Derby favorite Uncle Mo the day before the 2011 race due to an illness.
The scratch of Forte impacted a jockey. Leading rider in the USA Irad Ortiz Jr., loses the mount on Forte but picks up the ride on Cyclone Mischief, one of the horses who got into the race due to scratches.
The hardest adversity often leads to the greatest moments of your life. Keep fighting, keep going, never surrender, never give up, never stop, keep grinding. The toughest situations build the strongest people & horses in the end.
I’m so sorry Forte 😢💙🧡🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/jl9pmJclVD
— Repole Stable (@RepoleStable) May 6, 2023