Riding a five stakes race winning streak, the amazing FORTE (Violence) drew post position 15 for the 149th Kentucky Derby (G1) during the post position draw on May 1. A field of 19 will have 1 1/4 miles of Churchill Downs dirt in front of them when they line up for race 12 just before 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 6. The Derby is worth $3 million and is the first leg of the American Triple Crown.

On Friday, May 5, the fillies compete in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at 1 1/8 miles.

(Take a look at Canadian Thoroughbred‘s notes for each starter below).

Trained by two-time Kentucky Derby winner Todd Pletcher, Forte is owned by Repole Racing and St. Elias Stable and was a $110,000 yearling purchase. He has has won six of seven starts and has posted Grade 1 victories in the Hopeful, Breeders’ Futurity, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and most recently in the Florida Derby. Irad Ortiz Jr., who is seeking his first Kentucky Derby victory, has the mount on Forte.

Pletcher will saddle two other starters Saturday: Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable’s Tapit Trice and Spendthrift Farm’s Kingsbarns.

Tapit Trice, the second choice on the morning line at 5-1, has won his past four starts with the most recent coming in the Blue Grass Stakes (GI) on April 8. Luis Saez has the mount and will break from post position five.

The undefeated Kingsbarns (12-1) comes into the Run for the Roses off a front-running victory in the Louisiana Derby (GII). Jose Ortiz has the mount and will break from post position six.

Third choice on the morning line at 8-1 is Albaugh Family Stables’ Angel of Empire. Angel of Empire comes into the Kentucky Derby off a 4 ¼-length victory in the Arkansas Derby. Prior to that, he won the Risen Star (GII). Flavien Prat, who won the 2019 Derby on Country House, has the mount and will exit post position 14. Angel of Empire will be one of four starters for trainer Brad Cox, who has a Kentucky Derby victory by Mandaloun in 2021 on his resume.

Cox’s other entrants are Gary and Mary West’s Hit Show (30-1), Jonathan Poulin, Westerberg Limited, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor’s Verifying (15-1) and West Point Thoroughbreds and Albaugh’s Jace’s Road (50-1).

Hit Show, a winner of three of five starts and runner-up in the Wood Memorial (GII) in his most recent start, will be ridden by Manny Franco and break from post position one.

Verifying was runner-up to Tapit Trice in the Blue Grass Stakes in his most recent start. Tyler Gaffalione, who was aboard for the first time that day, retains the mount Saturday and will break from post two.

Jace’s Road, third in the Louisiana Derby in his most recent start, will be ridden by Florent Geroux and break from post 12. Geroux was aboard Mandaloun in 2021.

Fourth choices on the line at 10-1 is the ‘buzz’ horse, Asanuma Hiroyuki’s Derma Sotogake (JPN).  Derma Sotogake comes to Kentucky off a 5 ½-length victory in the UAE Derby (GII). A winner of four of eight starts and earner of $1.1 million, Derma Sotogake will be ridden by Christophe Lemaire for trainer Hidetaka Otonashi from post 17.

Trainer Tim Yakteen also will send out Reincarnate (50-1) for the partnership of SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital and Catherine Donovan. Third in the Arkansas Derby (GI) and the Rebel (GII) in his past two starts, Reincarnate will be ridden by three-time Kentucky Derby winner John Velazquez and break from post seven. Velazquez’s Derby victories have come aboard Authentic (2020), Always Dreaming (2017) and Animal Kingdom (2011).

Bill Mott will also be seeking to add to his Kentucky Derby win total. Mott, who won the Derby in 2019 with Country House, will send out Frank Fletcher Racing Operations’ Rocket Can (30-1). Fourth in the Arkansas Derby in his most recent start, Rocket Can will be ridden by Junior Alvarado from post position 18.

One other rider will be seeking another Derby victory: Joel Rosario. Rosario, who won the 2013 Derby on Orb, will ride Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Disarm (30-1). Trained by Steve Asmussen, Disarm was third in the Lexington (GIII) in his most recent start. Disarm will start from post position 11.

Grey racehorse Tapit Trice being exercised at Churchill Downs

Tapit Trice, another Todd Pletcher trainee, will be one of the favourites for the Derby. Could he be the first Derby winner for his sire Tapit? (Kentucky Derby photo)



RACE 12 KENTUCKY DERBY – Saturday May 6

Horse #  – Trainer – Dosage  – Jockey -Odds

1 Hit Show Brad Cox 2.50 Manny Franco 30-1 – son of Candy Ride (Arg) has improved with each race, 2nd by nose in Wood Mem.
2 Verifying Brad Cox 3.00 Tyler Gaffalione 15-1 – By Justify, TC winner, gave Tapit Trice all he could handle in Blue Grass
3 Two Phils Larry Rivelli 2.64 Jareth Loveberry 12-1 – big win on synthetic dirt, 101 Beyer Figure, in Jeff Ruby, by Hard Spun
4 Confidence Game Keith Desormeaux 1.67 James Graham 50-1 – long rest since Rebel win; strong, eager workout Apr. 29, Candy Ride (Arg)
5 Tapit Trice Todd Pletcher 3.92 Luis Saez 5-1  – cost $1.3 million, son of Tapit has won four of 5, deep closing type
6 Kingsbarns Todd Pletcher 1.80 Jose Ortiz 12-1  -unbeaten, won La. Derby, 95 Beyer 4th different jockey, by Uncle Mo
7 Reincarnate Tim Yakteen 3.00 John Velazquez 50-1 – by God Magic, 3rd in Rebel and Ark. Derby
8 Mage Gustavo Delgado 2.50 Javier Castellano 15-1 – Fast improving by Good Magic, 2nd to Forte
9 Skinner John Shirreffs 2.33 Juan Hernandez 20-1 – by Curlin steady stretch runner with 99 Beyer
10 Practical Move Tim Yakteen 3.00 Ramon Vazquez 10-1 – Top California colt, 3 graded wins, paired up 100 Beyers
11 Disarm Steve Asmussen 2.43 Joel Rosario 30-1 – maiden winner by Gun Runner, stretch runner
12 Jace’s Road Brad Cox 2.33 Florent Geroux 50-1 – by Quality Road, will be near early pace
13 Sun Thunder Ken McPeek 3.00 Brian Hernandez Jr. 50-1 – Adds blinkers, by Into Mischief, very strong in training this week
14 Angel Of Empire Brad Cox 9.00 Flavien Prat 8-1 – Ark. Derby win, son of Classic Empire, big workouts
15 Forte Todd Pletcher 3.00 Irad Ortiz Jr. 3-1 – Has overcome rocky trips to win all the big races, strictly the top contender
16 Raise Cain Ben Colebrook 1.86 Gerardo Corrales 50-1 – upset 1 mile Gotham in mud, by Violence
17 Derma Sotogake Hidetaka Otonashi 3.00 Christophe Lemaire 10-1 – Japanese colt has been eager in training, by Mind Your Biscuits
18 Rocket Can Bill Mott 4.33 Junior Alvarado 30-1 – Grey son of Into Mischief  won Holy Bull
19 Lord Miles Saffie Joseph Jr. 3.44 Paco Lopez 30-1 – upset winner of crowded Wood Memorial, by Curlin
20 Continuar Yoshito Yahagi 1.15 Ryusei Sakai 20-1 – Japanese colt by Defrong, no match for Derma in training
21 Cyclone Mischief Dale Romans 3.00 Joel Rosario 30-1 – Flashy bay from Florida is very speedy so expect him to be on the pace
22 Mandarin Hero Terunobu Fujita 1.40 Kazushi Kimura 20-1 – Canadian champion jock KK almost won the SA Derby on this colt
23 King Russell Ron Moquett 1.93 Rafael Bejarano 50-1 – grey colt is a stretch runner who has to improve a lot


KENTUCKY OAKS, May 5 – Race 11, post time 5:51 p.m.

Oaks favourite WET PAINT is owned by Godolphin. Here is her latest workout with her improving mate THE ALYS LOOK:

1 Mimi Kakushi Mickael Barzalona 20-1 – UAE Oaks winner by City of Light
2 The Alys Look Javier Castellano 15-1 – looking great in training, by Connect, needs move forward
3 Gambling Girl Irad Ortiz Jr. 15-1 – by Dialed In New York bred is a deep closer
4 Southlawn Reylu Gutierrez 8-1 – young trainer Norm Casse’s first oaks starter, Pioneedofthe Nile filly paired up 86 Beyers
5 Wonder Wheel Joel Rosario 12-1 – Mark Caase trainee, Champion 2yo filly 2022, comes off dull run
6 Botanical Chris Landeros 4-1 – Four wins in a row for Medaglia D’Oro filly – all on synthetic dirt
7 Wet Paint Flavien Prat 5-2 – by Blame, 3 stakes wins in a row, deep closer
8 Promiseher America Jorge Vargas Jr. 30-1 – by American Pharoah, won Gr 3 Gazelle at AQU
9 And Tell Me Nolies Ramon Vazquez 15-1 – by Arrogate, 2nd in two Gr stakes at SA, owned by BC’s Peter Redekop
10 Flying Connection Florent Geroux 15-1 – by Nyquist, Sunland speedball, 2 straight stakes wins
11 Defining Purpose Brian Hernandez Jr. 12-1 – upset winner of Gr1 Ashland, 85 Beyer, by Cross Traffic
12 Dorth Vader Luis Saez 20-1 – Florida gal by Girvin, 4th in GP Oaks
13 Affirmative Lady John Velazquez 10-1 – Won Gr2 GP Oaks, by Arrogate
14 Pretty Mischievous Tyler Gaffalione 10-1 Adds blinkers, 2nd to Southlawn
AE-15 Taxed Rafael Bejarano 20-1
AE-16 Julia Shining Luis Saez 15-1
AE-17 Hoosier Philly Edgar Morales 30-1