With only hours to go before the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby, this morning the favorite, Forte, was scratched after his morning workout. The colt had developed a hoof bruise on Wednesday and state vets found him unfit to compete. This decision came after four horses died at Churchill Downs last week and four other horses were scratched from the Derby — Practical Move, Lord Miles, Continaur and Skinner. The last time five horses were scratched from the Kentucky Derby was 1936 when 19 horses entered the race and 14 ran.
Just yesterday, trainer Todd Pletcher had announced the colt was ready to run, but there had been reports all week that Forte was on the veterinarians’ watch list. The colt had stumbled in a workout on Thursday, sending waves of concern throughout the racing community. The good news is that a hoof bruise, while painful, is a minor injury and Forte should be cleared to run in the Preakness if that’s where his connections intend.
The Derby field is now down to 18 horses. Irad Ortiz, Jr., who was scheduled to ride Forte, is now scheduled to ride Cyclone Mischief.