Kentucky Derby races on amid 6th death, scratched favorite
May 6, 2023 -LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A star-crossed Kentucky Derby lost its early favorite when Forte was scratched and a sixth horse died at Churchill Downs earlier Saturday, further blows to a sport already reeling from a series of doping suspensions and breakdowns.
“This is part of racing and it’s the cruel part,” Mike Repole, co-owner of Forte, said in an interview with FanDuel TV.
Forte was the fifth scratch from the Derby in the days leading up to the $3 million race for 3-year-olds. Chloe’s Dream, a 3-year-old gelding that ran on the Derby undercard, is the sixth horse to have died at Churchill Downs in recent days.
The string of horse deaths cast a pall for some Derby-goers on a mostly cloudy and warm day.
“It’s concerning, and I hope they’re quickly trying the best they can to correct whatever’s going on,” said Michael Freeze, who along with his friend dressed up as jockeys. “They need to do whatever is best for the horses, and the sport in general.”
Chloe’s Dream ran in the second race Saturday, taking a bad step on the first turn. The horse was taken off in an equine ambulance with a right front knee injury and was euthanized, trainer Jeff Hiles confirmed to The Associated Press.
“He just took a bad step out there,” Hiles said. “They could do the same thing running in the field as they could on the track. So it’s very unfortunate. That’s what we deal with.”