NATIONAL NEWS

Early Kentucky Derby favorite Forte scratched from race

May 6, 2023, 6:34 AM

Kentucky Derby hopeful Forte works out at Churchill Downs Wednesday, May 3, 2023, in Louisville, Ky...

Kentucky Derby hopeful Forte works out at Churchill Downs Wednesday, May 3, 2023, in Louisville, Ky. The 149th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 6. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The early favorite for the Kentucky Derby has been scratched hours before the race.

Forte was declared out of the 149th Derby on Saturday, according to Churchill Downs spokesman Darren Rogers. No immediate reason was announced.

It was the fifth scratch this week from the race.

The colt had stumbled on the track during a workout Thursday, although trainer Todd Pletcher had downplayed it.

Five horses have died at Churchill Downs in recent days, including two trained by Saffie Joseph Jr. He was suspended by the track and had his Derby horse, Lord Miles, scratched.

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission veterinarians were at Pletcher’s barn early Saturday to observe and examine Forte, who galloped on the track and then jogged outside the barn. Co-owner Mike Repole was on hand, too.

Forte had a five-race winning streak and was the early 3-1 favorite. That leaves 18 horses to run in the 1 1/4-mile Derby.

It was another pre-Derby disappointment for Repole.

He owned Uncle Mo, the early favorite for the 2011 Derby who was scratched the day before the race. The colt had a gastrointestinal infection and was eventually diagnosed with a rare liver disease. He resumed racing before retiring in November of that year.

Other horses that were scratched this week were Practical Move and Skinner, both because of fever, and Continuar.

Pletcher, a two-time Derby winner, will still saddle Tapit Trice and Kingsbarns.

Post time for the Derby is shortly before 7 p.m. EDT.

___

AP sports: https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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