Saturday’s 149th Kentucky Derby is now without the morning-line favorite. Forte, who was at 3-1 odds on the morning line, was pulled from the race due to concerns about a bruised foot:
Kentucky Derby favorite Forte has been scratched from Saturday's race, according to multiple reports.
More: https://t.co/SGRF35170p pic.twitter.com/J86vzgKTvm
— ESPN (@espn) May 6, 2023
As ESPN Stats & Information noted, Forte (seen at top during a workout Friday) is only the third morning-line favorite scratched in the race’s long history:
Kentucky Derby favorite Forte has been scratched. Forte was the morning line favorite at 3-1 before being scratched.
Forte now joins Omaha Beach (2019) and I Want Revenge (2009) as the only morning-line favorites to be scratched from a Kentucky Derby on record. pic.twitter.com/xrpXhN6csm
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 6, 2023
Earlier in the week, Forte stumbled on the track during a workout Thursday. The scratch decision came after a Saturday morning workout, where Forte galloped on the track and then jogged outside the barn, with trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole meeting with a state commission veterinarian afterwards:
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
Forte owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher talking to state vet Nick Smith. By the length of the conversation, not sure this is going to be good news for Forte camp. pic.twitter.com/E8eFAnfzUA
— Jody Demling (@jdemling) May 6, 2023
Repole gave an emotional interview to FanDuel TV’s Caton Bredar on the scratch of Forte, including saying “I think me and Todd are going to need more recovery than him.”
.@CBredar talks with Mike Repole about the heartbreaking scratch of FORTE. pic.twitter.com/R2xpWDM3P3
— TVG (@TVG) May 6, 2023
Forte becomes the fifth pre-race scratch of this Derby. Lord Miles was scratched Thursday amidst a suspension to and investigation of trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., who had two of his horses die in the previous week (part of four horse deaths at Churchill Downs in that span). Practical Move, Continuar, and Skinner were also scratched Thursday.
But Forte’s exit is the most notable one yet, and it leaves the field with just 18 horses. And this scratch may cause a lot of the betting attention to shift. As per Churchill Downs’ official site, the co-favorites as of 11 a.m. Eastern were Tapit Trice and Angel of Empire, both at 9-2 at that point. And both (especially Tapit Trice) were drawing strong betting interest:
With Forte scratched, my play is now Tapit Trice with a win bet and a boxed exacta with Angel of Empire. #KentuckyDerby https://t.co/T0nNd5FjVs
— Bearzus (@bearzus) May 6, 2023
Going to hit my first Derby winner in a decade when Tapit Trice is the only horse in the race https://t.co/gXv7g5iAuh
— Ben Rasa (@JazzrazDFS) May 6, 2023
After extensive research, which probably means absolutely nothing after the scratch of Forte, I give you my #KentuckyDerby picks:
Win- 5 Tapit Trice
Place- 14 Angel of Empire
Show- 2 Verifying
— John Fischesser (@JohnFischesser) May 6, 2023
TAPIT TRICE is unbeaten in three starts this year. Can this $1.3 million yearling win the Kentucky Derby? 🌹 pic.twitter.com/genGTa6APA
— TVG (@TVG) May 5, 2023
We’ll find out if Trice, also trained by Pletcher, can pull that win off in the Derby Saturday evening. The post time is set for 6:57 p.m. ET.
[ESPN; photo from Matt Stone/The Louisville Courier-Journal, via USA Today Sports]