Kentucky Derby favorite Forte was pulled from the race on Saturday by order of state racing commission veterinarians who found the colt unfit to race following an examination.
The state regulators did not give a diagnosis of Forte’s condition. However, The New York Times reported Saturday morning that rumors were rampant this week that Forte was not well.
It has been a difficult week at Churchill Downs. Four horses died in six days this week leading into Saturday night’s Derby. Two reportedly collapsed and died after racing last Saturday. Two others were euthanized due to injuries the horses received — one during competition last Saturday and one during training Thursday.
Forte was one of 19 horses set for the 149th Kentucky Derby. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Forte was to have been ridden by top jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.
Forte entered this week with six wins in seven career races and on a five-race winning streak. The colt was a 3-1 morning-line favorite to win the Kentucky Derby and was listed at 4-1 before he was scratched.
The horse went through a workout Saturday morning before Pletcher and owner Mike Repole were spotted in a discussion with a state veterinarian.
Forte is the fifth horse this week to be scratched from the Derby field, joining Practical Move, Lord Miles, Continuar and Skinner.
–Field Level Media