May 5, 2023 -LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The cast of characters for the 149th Kentucky Derby was rewritten in the days before the race. What didn’t change: Forte is the early 3-1 favorite on Saturday in a seemingly wide-open field of 19 horses.
Four horses were scratched — Practical Move, Lord Miles, Continuar and Skinner — and three horses waiting on the also-eligible list moved into the field. They are Cyclone Mischief, Mandarin Hero and King Russell.
Last year’s Derby was a stunner: 80-1 shot Rich Strike weaved his way through traffic and came rushing up the rail to win. NBC Sports’ overhead replay of the race was viewed more than 36 million times.
A crowd of about 150,000 is expected to jam Churchill Downs to wager and watch the 1 1/4-mile Derby. Post time is 6:57 p.m. EDT.
Forte breaks from the No. 15 post, which has produced six winners. The dark brown colt is trained by two-time Derby winner Todd Pletcher, who also has the second favorite in Tapit Trice, at 5-1.
The Todd Squad includes Kingsbarns, and it’s an impressive trio.
Forte was last year’s 2-year-old champion and has six wins in seven career starts, including five in a row. Tapit Trice is 4 for 5 and Kingsbarns is 3 for 3.
“You could say it’s the deepest squad we’ve brought so far,” Pletcher said.