A Kentucky Derby favourite, scratched on race morning. Who is currently number one in the shortened field?
Preparations for the 2023 Kentucky Derby have been chaotic and tragic.
The expected Derby contender was euthanized. A Derby trainer has been suspended indefinitely following the death of a mysterious horse. On Thursday alone, three Derby horses were ruled out of the race, with all similarly qualified horses fielded.
Another horse scratched on Friday morning.
But the biggest upset came on Saturday morning, just hours before the 149th Derby was held.
Forte, a dominating 3-1 morning line favorite in the Kentucky Derby, was ruled out of the race at 9:00 am on Saturday.
The Forte, which was trained by Todd Pletcher and was to be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. A morning filled with drama.
Pletcher and co-owner Mike Lepohl met with Kentucky Racing Commission chief veterinarian Dr Nicholas Smith on Saturday morning to assess Forte’s health ahead of the Derby.
Forte made several inspection jogs on the asphalt surface near the backstretch of Churchill Downs before it was decided to scratch him.
Repole said state veterinarians were concerned about a bruise on Forte’s right front leg.
Before Saturday’s dramatic scratch, there were rumors that Forte’s fitness and health were below 100% after taking an unnatural step during a workout earlier in the week.
Forte is set to enter the Derby on a five-game winning streak, and has won six of his seven career starts.
Forte’s absence from Saturday’s race saw five horses drop out of the race following Monday’s post-position draw.
It’s the most scratches from a Derby since 1936.
Additionally, prospective Derby contender Wild on Ice was euthanized last week after suffering a leg injury while training at Churchill Downs.
Forte was scheduled to start the Kentucky Derby at post-13.
The 18 horses remaining on the Kentucky Derby field are off posts 1–18, leaving posts 19 and 20 empty.
Ortiz, who was slated to ride Forte, ended up riding the Cyclone Mischief (a former qualifier trained by the Dale Romans) in the Kentucky Derby.
Forte is a dominant two-year-old who won the Breeders’ Futurity and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in Keeneland last fall, as well as the Fountain of Youth Stakes and the Florida Derby this spring. A weak Kentucky Derby field.
Forte was first on the Kentucky Derby qualifying points leaderboard with 190 points, 30 points away from the next closest horse.
But now he is out of the race and there is no horse to replace him.
Three horses also on the eligible list — Cyclone Mischief, Mandarin Hero, and King Russell — all had Practical Moves (Temperature Increase), Lord Miles (Trainer Suspension), Continue (Fitness Concerns). ) was pulled into the Kentucky Derby field on Thursday following a scratch. .
Skinner also suffered a scratch on Friday morning due to an elevated body temperature.
With Forte out of the race, only 18 horses are set to race for Saturday night’s Derby.
Pletcher loses next chance to win Kentucky Derby
Much of the framework surrounding the 2023 Kentucky Derby centered around the debate between Forte vs. Field and Forte trainer Todd Pletcher against Louisville’s Brad Cox, who owns four horses at Derby Field.
Now one story has completely evaporated and the other has lost a lot of its luster.
Pletcher is a two-time winner of the 2010 Super Saver Derby and the 2017 Always Dreaming.
With Forte out of the race, Pletcher is left with only two horses in the Kentucky Derby.
Keeneland Bluegrass Stakes winner Tappit Trice, another top choice according to Morningline Odds, and Kings Barnes, winner of the perfect 3-3 Louisiana Derby of his career.
Eight of Pletcher’s 62 Kentucky Derby starters have cashed in at this year’s race.
Meanwhile, Cox is looking to win his second Derby, but it was his first in real time after the Mandarons clinched the 2021 Kentucky Derby title following the disqualification of the Medina Spirit.
What’s more, Forte’s scratch on Saturday morning is yet another heartbreak for one of the Kentucky Derby owners, Mike LePaul.
In an interview with NBC Sports Friday afternoon, Repole said Forte is scheduled to sprint at 7:45 a.m. Saturday, after which fitness will be assessed again, but Forte will not race in the Kentucky Derby. He said he was confident.
“Shocked, sad and devastated,” LePaul told reporters on Saturday morning, minutes after Forte was scratched.
Repole also said Pletcher brought three veterinarians to the barn to see Forte.
Without Forte, who are the Kentucky Derby favorites?
With Forte out of the equation, the 149th Kentucky Derby handicap becomes even more difficult.
Based on the morning line odds established in Monday afternoon’s post position draw, Tapit Trice (5-1) should take on the race’s favorite title.
Also trained by Pletcher, Tapit Trice is looking to become the first Gray or loan horse to win the Derby since Giacomo’s 50-1 Longshot in 2005.
Arkansas Derby winner Angel of Empires (8-1) was the only horse to win the race at single-digit odds.
Behind them is a horse smorgasbord with intrigue, but also flaws.
Dharma Sotokake was given odds of 10 to 1 in the morning line, but no Japanese horse has ever won a Derby.
The two Phils (12-1) have improved with eight starts, but he represents the debut of the Kentucky Derby jockeys. Jareth Loveberry and trainer Larry Ribery.
The Kingsbarns (12-1) are in contention to become just the third Louisiana Derby winner to win a run for the roses, the first since Grindstone in 1996.
Out there are the 15-1 verifying horse, son of 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, and a pair of mages who narrowly lost to Forte in the Florida Derby.
when: Saturday at 6:57 PM
where: Churchill Downs Racecourse
tv set: NBC and Peacock
wallet: $3 million (Grade 1)
distance: 1 1/4 miles
for: 3 year old thoroughbred
Kentucky Derby Field, odds:
1. Hit Show (30-1)
2. Verification (15-1)
3. 2 Phil (12-1)
4. Confidence game (20-1)
5. Tapit Trice (5-1)
6. Kingsbarns (12-1)
7. Reincarnation (50-1)
8. Mage (15-1)
9. Skinner (Scratch)
10. Practical move (SCRATCHED)
11. Disarm (30-1)
12. Jace’s Way (50-1)
13. Sun Thunder (50-1)
14. Angel of Empire (8-1)
15. Forte (Scratch)
16. Raise Cain (50-1)
17. Dharma outside (10-1)
18. Rocket Can (30-1)
19. Lord Miles (SCRATCHED)
20. Continue (SCRATCHED)
21. Cyclone Mischief (30-1)
22. Mandarin Hero (20-1)
23. King Russell (50-1)