Formerly favorite Kentucky Derby forte scratched from race


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – The early favorite for the Kentucky Derby was scratched hours before the race.

Forte was eliminated from the 149th derby on Saturday, according to Churchill Downs spokesman Darren Rogers. No immediate reason was disclosed.

It was the fifth scratch this week from the race.

The stallion stumbled onto the track during a practice session on Thursday, despite downplaying it from trainer Todd Pletcher.

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

Vets from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission were at Pletcher’s barn early Saturday to observe and examine Forte, who galloped on the track and then jogged in front of the barn. Co-owner Mike Repole was also there.

Forte was on a five-race win streak and was the early 3-1 favorite. This leaves 18 horses to run in the 1 1/4 mile derby.

It was another disappointment before the derby for Repole.

He owned Uncle Mo, 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 scratched this week were Practical Move and Skinner, both due to fever, and Continuar.

Two-time Derby winner Pletcher will continue to saddle Tapit Trice and Kingsbarns.

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