Kentucky Derby favorite Forte is scratched from race

Owner Mike Repole stands with Kentucky Derby favorite Forte  on Wednesday.
Owner Mike Repole stands with Kentucky Derby favorite Forte after a morning workout at Churchill Downs on Wednesday. Forte was scratched from the race Saturday.
(Bryan Woolston / Associated Press)
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Just when you thought this Kentucky Derby couldn’t get any crazier, morning line favorite Forte was scratched out of the Kentucky Derby after a state veterinary examination Saturday. He became the fifth horse to scratch out of the race.

There were rumors all week that the Todd Pletcher trainee would be scratched but the hall of fame trainer dismissed those notions. However, in a break from his normal routine, Pletcher galloped the horse around 7:45 a.m. as state veterinarians watched. Dr. Nick Smith then talked to Pletcher and Mike Repole, co-owner of Forte, and they decided to scratch the horse.

This reduced the Kentucky Derby field to 18.

Pletcher’s normal race-day routine is to have the horse walk the shed row. So, when he went to the track to gallop, everyone knew something was amiss.


Talk about Forte’s health began to swirl after the 3-year-old colt took an unusual step during a gallop Thursday. Pletcher called it a “bobble” and dismissed it.

This is the first scratch of a favorite since 2009 when I Want Revenge was taken out of the race with a bad ankle.

The other horses who have scratched from Saturday’s race were Practical Move, Continuar, Lord Miles and Skinner.

Four horses have scratched, five have died and one trainer has been suspended for this Kentucky Derby. Now it’s time to actually run the race.

May 5, 2023