Kentucky Derby 2023

The lineup of participants for the 149th Kentucky Derby underwent changes in the days leading up to the race.

On the morning of the event, the favored horse, Forte, was declared unfit to compete in the 149th Derby, as stated by Churchill Downs spokesperson Darren Rogers. 

Forte had initially held the position of the early 3-1 favorite, but the news of his withdrawal altered the dynamics.

This week witnessed a total of five scratches from the $3 million race, marking the first instance of such a high number since 1936. In that year, out of 19 horses entered, only 14 raced.

The other horses that were scratched include Practical Move, Lord Miles, Continuar, and Skinner.

Subsequently, three horses from the also-eligible list were moved into the field: Cyclone Mischief, Mandarin Hero, and King Russell.

The previous year's Derby produced an astonishing outcome when Rich Strike, an 80-1 long shot, skillfully maneuvered through the traffic and surged along the rail to claim victory. NBC Sports' overhead replay of the race garnered over 36 million views.

A crowd of approximately 150,000 spectators is anticipated at Churchill Downs to place their bets and witness the 1 1/4-mile Derby. The post time is set for 6:57 p.m. EDT.

Forte was assigned the No. 15 post position, historically associated with six winners. As the reigning 2-year-old champion and having achieved six wins in seven career starts, including a streak of five victories, Forte had high expectations.

Tapit Trice boasts a record of 4 wins out of 5 races, while Kingsbarns remains unbeaten with 3 wins in 3 races.

Pletcher commented, "You could say it's the most talented group we've brought so far."