Forte during a morning workout on May 5, 2023.

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:

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:

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:

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.”

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:

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]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.