Kentucky Derby favorite Forte scratched just hours before race

Forte, the favorite to win this year's Kentucky Derby, was scratched Saturday morning.

Forte on a morning workout. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Forte on a morning workout before the Kentucky Derby. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Kentucky Derby favorite Forte has been scratched from the race just hours before post time.

After Forte went through a morning workout and veterinary inspection Saturday morning, the decision — which involved owner Mike Repole, trainer Todd Pletcher and a veterinarian from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission — came down: No race for the favorite. The state veterinarian made the final decision.

Forte's fate has been in doubt since a Thursday incident in which the horse appeared to step awkwardly during a workout. Pletcher did not appear concerned initially, but clearly the state veterinarian felt differently as of Saturday morning.

Forte's odds were around 3-1, and the horse had taken in about 16 percent of all winning bets. The horse was slated to start from the 15th position. Tapit Trice, at 5-1, is now the Derby favorite.

This is the latest turn in what has been a disturbing lead-up to the 149th Derby. Wild On Ice and two other horses were destroyed following an injury suffered during training. Two more horses, both trained by Saffie Joseph, collapsed and died on the track following races. In response, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission suspended Joseph and scratched all of his horses, including Derby participant Lord Miles.

Verifying, currently at 15-1, tossed his rider during a Thursday practice, but was deemed fit to race. However, three more horses, Practical Move, Skinner and Continuar, were scratched. There are now 18 horses slated to run on Saturday afternoon.

The 149th Kentucky Derby is slated to run at 6:57 p.m. ET, and will be televised on NBC.