USA TODAY Sports Weekly
Forte appears ineligible for Preakness
Forte is not eligible for the May 20 Preakness, after being scratched from the Kentucky Derby by a Kentucky Horse Racing Commission hours before Saturday’s race, according to multiple reports.
The 2-year-old champion, winner of five straight races and 3-1 morning-line favorite for the Derby before being scratched, was placed on a 14-day veterinarian’s list due to the scratch, the KHRC announced in a statement released at press time.
“Forte was scratched from the Kentucky Derby by KHRC veterinarians following Saturday’s routine soundness checks,” the statement reads. “As is the case with all KHRC veterinary scratches related to soundness, and pursuant to HISA Rule 2241(a), this places Forte on a mandatory 14day veterinary list. After 14 days, the requirements for removal from the list include a satisfactory workout performed for a state regulatory veterinarian and a negative blood sample result.”
The KHRC veterinarian scratched Forte because of a bruised right front foot on Saturday morning, exactly 14 days before the Preakness is scheduled. According to the Daily Racing Form, horses are not allowed to be entered in races while on the vet’s list.
Officials from the KHRC and Maryland Jockey Club did not immediately return requests for comment. According to Tim Layden of NBC Sports, a Maryland racing spokesperson at press time said, “Forte is on the vets’ list and is not eligible to run in the Preakness.”
Forte trainer Todd Pletcher said May 7 he is planning to breeze the horse on this week at Churchill Downs. If all went well, Pletcher said, the plan was to send Forte to Baltimore for the Preakness.
Mage, who won the Kentucky Derby by a length over Two Phil’s, had lost to Forte in his two previous races at Gulfstream Park —
the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on March 4 and the Grade 1 Florida Derby on April 1.
Mage co-owner Ramiro Restrepo said May 7 he was looking forward to a possible rematch with Forte.
“It’s becoming an Apollo Creed-Rocky story line,” Restrepo said. “Tons of respect for those guys. Mike Repole, Vinnie Viola and Todd Pletcher are top-class. … Hopefully Forte comes back full force and we’ll see each other at some point.”
Here’s a look at other horses that could join Mage in the Preakness:
Arabian Lion – Trainer Bob Baffert said Arabian Lion could be considered for the Preakness after finishing second in the Grade 3 Lexington on April 15 at Keeneland.
Blazing Sevens – Trainer Chad Brown chose to skip the Kentucky Derby after Blazing Sevens finished third in the Grade 1 Blue Grass on April 8 at Keeneland.
Chase the Chaos – Trained by Ed Moger Jr., Chase the Chaos most recently finished eighth in the California Derby on April 29 at Golden Gate.
Confidence Game – After finishing 10th in the Kentucky Derby, trainer Keith Desormeaux said Confidence Game is in consideration for the Preakness.
Disarm – The Steve Asmussen trainee could be considered for the Preakness after a fourthplace showing in the Kentucky Derby.
First Mission – Trainer Brad Cox was unsure whether any of his four Kentucky Derby horses – led by third-place Angel of Empire – would enter the Preakness. But he does plan to send First Mission, who won the Grade 3 Lexington on April 15 at Keeneland.
Henry Q – Finished third in the Grade 3 Sunland Park Derby on March 26 for trainer Todd Fincher.
Il Miracolo – Trained by Antonio Sano, Il Miracolo most recently
was sixth in the Florida Derby.
Instant Coffee – The Cox trainee finished sixth in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 25 at Fair Grounds.
National Treasure – The Baffert trainee finished fourth in the Santa Anita Derby on April 8.
Perform – Trained by Shug McGaughey, Perform earned a Preakness invite after winning the Tesio on April 15 at Laurel Park.
Practical Move – Trainer Tim Yakteen said he wouldn’t rule out the Preakness after Practical Move was scratched from the Kentucky Derby because of a fever.
Red Route One – The Asmussen trainee was sixth in the Arkansas Derby and then won the Bath House Row Stakes on April 22 at Oaklawn Park.
Two Phil’s – Trainer Larry Rivelli hasn’t made a decision on the Preakness after Two Phil’s finished second in the Kentucky Derby.