This year marks the 149th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs and the 2023 favorite horse was scratched from the race.
The Courier Journal reported that the Florida Derby winner, Forte, “has been scratched from the race about 10 hours before Saturday’s post time of 6:57 p.m..”
Why is this important? The Kentucky Derby is known as the longest-running sporting event in the U.S.
In 2022, about $233.03 million was reportedly bet on the Kentucky Derby program, which ended up being the biggest total of all time for the sporting event.
Details: After a morning jog, Forte was reportedly scratched from the race when a veterinarian determined the horse had a bruised right foot, according to The Washington Post.
CNN reported that there have been a total of five horses, including Forte, that have been scratched from the race this year.
Quotes to note: When trainer Todd Pletcher talked with the Louisville Courier Journal about Forte being scratched before the race, he said, “They acknowledged that he had made improvement this week, but they just didn’t feel like he was 100%.”
Pletcher continued, “It’s a tough call. Obviously we are in an environment where scrutiny is super high. I’m not sure in some years it would have been an issue. But this year, it was.”
The excitement around the event is reportedly still palpable for many, despite last-minute line-up changes and more.
“I get to cover a bunch of great events, and this is one of my favorites because it’s one of the most unique challenges in sports,” Mike Tirico, who is a play-by-play announcer for “Sunday Night Football” and will host the Kentucky Derby this year, said, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’re talking for the seven hours — everyone from the hard-core horse player, the handicappers, to the people who wait and watch just one horse race a year. It all kind of comes together with interesting celebrities around it.”