Kentucky Derby favorite Forte has been scratched from Saturday’s race, Churchill Downs announced.
Forte was removed from the race following a Saturday morning workout.
The horse was a 4-1 favorite to win the Kentucky Derby prior to the announcement.
Trainer Todd Pletcher and co-owner Mike Repole were seen speaking with a state-commissioned veterinarian after Forte’s morning workout.
Forte is the fifth horse scratched from the Derby, and the race is now set to be run with 18 horses. It would be the smallest field to run at the Kentucky Derby since 2020, when just 15 horses ran, according to ESPN.
It’s the first time since 1936 that five horses have been scratched from the race.
Practical Move, Lord Miles, and Continuar were all scratched on Thursday, with Skinner scratched on Friday due to an elevated temperature.
“After evaluating the colt upon my arrival, I feel that he has not been able to reach the peak fitness required to take on a race as tough as the Kentucky Derby,” said Continuar trainer Yoshito Yahagi, according to the Courier Journal.
On Thursday, Churchill Downs indefinitely suspended trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. following the sudden deaths of two horses.
“Given the unexplained sudden deaths, we have reasonable concerns about the condition of his horses, and decided to suspend him indefinitely until details are analyzed and understood,” said Bill Mudd, President and Chief Operating Officer of CDI. “The safety of our equine and human athletes and integrity of our sport is our highest priority. We feel these measures are our duty and responsibility.”
Post time for the 2023 Kentucky Derby is scheduled for 6:57 p.m. ET.