(Forte after winning the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland last November / Photos by Coady Photography)
Forte Tops “The Pressbox’s” First 2023 Kentucky Derby Rankings:
It has been awhile since we last witnessed the 2YO Champ and 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Forte on the racetrack in a serious role.
That was last November. That was in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland. That was quite a memory.
After all, it ended up with pictures taken. Flowers draping. And, champagne bottles popping. It ended up with Forte — a brilliant son of Violence — capturing the world’s most important race for 2YOs. It ended up with Forte stamping his name as the top contender for the 2023 Kentucky Derby.
It was quite the memory, to be sure.
But in the world of Thoroughbred racing, memories are short. Especially when the races get longer.
Credentials, credits and compliments are often temporary. Especially when the world awaits a return to the races, and wonders if there is a return to glory.
Patience is a virtue for trainers, but not in ample supply when it comes to fans, critics and prognosticators. Especially when you just so happen to be an aspiring colt headed to the “Road to the Kentucky Derby.”
It is a path that is full of “what have you done for me lately” demands.
It is a journey that many are asked, but few are able to complete.
It is a trip worth taking, only if you have the horse that can make the trip.
Soon, it will be time for Forte — and all his connections — to resume that mission. For now, the racing world awaits. For now, the racing world awaits anxiously with great anticipation.
For now, Forte has earned No. 1. And, why not. In five lifetime starts, the colt has 4 wins. The colt is trained by one of the best in the business, and a Kentucky Derby winner two times over with the likes of Super Saver and Always Dreaming. And, Forte has a win in one of the biggest and most important races of his generation, already.
He deserves the top perch.
Until he races again.
Which should not be that long away. Since being returned to serious training in January, trainer Todd Pletcher has put the colt through two early morning works at the Palm Beach Downs training center in South Florida. Forte got a 3-furlong breeze on Jan. 21 and a half-mile work on Jan. 28. More to come, to be sure. The expected “opening” appears to be the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 4. That will give the connections two full months of final tuneups and checkups before the first Saturday in May.
We will be watching. As the rest of the racing world, will be, too.
We will be back every week to update our rankings and give a little “news” about those that are making their way towards Louisville.
If you want, give us your top picks. We will add them to our watch list.
See you next week.
|Rankings||Previous||Horse||Sire||Trainer||Jockey||Last Race||Next Race||Career||Comments|
|1||x||Forte||Violence||Todd Pletcher||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||1st in G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile||March 4 -- G2 Fountain of Youth||5/4-0-0||Impressive Winner of BC Juvenile / #1 Until Toppled|
|2||x||Loggins||Ghostzapper||Brad Cox||Florent Geroux||2nd in G1 Breeders' Futurity||Undecided||2/1-1-0||Has Been Off Since Rough-Housed in Futurity at KEE / Expected Back to Cox Barn 1st of Feb.|
|3||x||Instant Coffee||Bolt d'Oro||Brad Cox||Luis Saez||1st in G3 Lecomte Stakes||Feb. 18 -- G2 Risen Star||4/3-0-0||Solid Performance in G3 Lecomte to Kick Start "Road to Derby" / More to Come|
|4||x||Arabian Knight||Uncle Mo||Bob Baffert||John Velazquez||1st in G3 Southwest Stakes||Feb. 25 -- G2 Rebel Stakes||2/2-0-0||Pricey Colt Obviously Has Looks & Races, to Date, Have Backed Them Up / Baffert -- Ugh|
|5||x||Victory Formation||Tapwrit||Brad Cox||Flavien Prat||1st in Smarty Jones||Undecided||3/3-0-0||Easy, Speedy Winner of Smarty Jones -- Cruise Control / Tougher Challenges to Come|
|6||x||Curly Jack||Good Magic||Tom Amoss||Edgar Morales||2nd in G2 KY Jockey Club||Feb. 18 -- G2 Risen Star||6/2-2-0||Has 2 Wins & 2nd in 3 Starts at Churchill Downs / Must Consider|
|7||x||Dubyuhnell||Good Magic||Danny Gargan||Jose Ortiz||1st in G2 Remsen||Feb. 11 -- G3 Sam F. Davis||3/2-0-0||4th in Career Debut to Instant Coffee at Saratoga / Won Last 2 / Won at 11/8 Last Out / Threat|
|8||x||Tapit's Conquest||Tapit||Brad Cox||Florent Geroux||2nd in Fair Grounds Allowance||Undecided||3/1-2-0||Should Have Won Last Out / Jockey Asked Too Late / Talent Here / One to Watch For Sure|
|9||x||Signator||Tapit||Shug McGaughey||Javier Castellano||1st in Belmont MSW||Undecided||2/1-1-0||Broke MSW By Nearly 5 When Going 1-Mile / Should Love Distance / By Current Longshot Play|
|10||x||Cyclone Mischief||Into Mischief||Dale Romans||Tyler Gaffalione||1st in Gulfstream Allowance||Feb. 4 -- G3 Holy Bull||4/2-0-1||Albaugh Family Paid $450,000 As Yearling / Won Last By Nearly 6 Lengths / Talent Here|
|10||x||Expect More||City of Light||Todd Pletcher||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||DQ'd From 1st to 2nd in GP MSW||Feb. 1 -- Gulfstream MSW||2/0-1-1||Ran 3rd to Arabian Knight in Debut / DQ'd From Win Last Out / Needs to Dominate on Wed|
|11||x||Shesterkin||Violence||Todd Pletcher||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||1st in GP MSW||Feb. 4 -- Gulfstream Allowance||1/1-0-0||Speedy-Type Won Debut Easily After Bumping Incident / Connections Paid $330,000 at 2YO Sale|
|12||x||Rocket Can||Into Mischief||Bill Mott||Luis Saez||2nd in Churchill Downs Allowance||Feb. 4 -- G3 Holy Bull||4/1-1-0||After 2 Poor Performances at Saratoga, This 1 Found Home at Churhcill Downs / Holy Bull Important|
|13||x||Confidence Game||Candy Ride||Keith Desormeaux||James Graham||3rd in G3 Lecomte||Undecided||6/2-1-2||Well-Beaten in Lecomte, But? / Defeated Both Rocket Can & Hit Show at CD / Interesting April Foal|
|14||x||Hit Show||Candy Ride||Brad Cox||Florent Geroux||1st in Oaklawn Park Allowance||Feb. 4 -- G3 Withers||3/2-0-0||Only Loss Was After Bobble At Start & Wide Trip / Returned to Win Last by Over 5 / Should Improve|
|15||x||Litigate||Blame||Todd Pletcher||Javier Castellano||2nd in Gulfstream Allowance||Undecided||2/1-1-0||Ran Distant 2nd to Cyclone Mischief Last Out In Very Wide Trip / Needs Improvement|
|16||x||Corona Bolt||Bolt d'Oro||Brad Cox||Flavien Prat||6th in G3 Southwest Stakes||Undecided||3/2-0-0||Last Race a Toss / Never Looked Comfortable on Serious Slop / Won Sugar Bowl by 7 / Next Up|
|17||x||Giant Mischief||Into Mischief||Brad Cox||Florent Geroux||2nd in Springboard Mile||Undecided||3/2-1-0||Made Huge Run in Springboard After Horrible Start / Working Great / Watch for This One|
|18||x||Jace's Road||Quality Road||Brad Cox||Joe Talamo||5th in G3 Southwest Stakes||Undecided||5/2-0-1||Another Who Didn't Like Slop at Oaklawn Park / Won Gun Runner at FG Before / Another Shot|
|19||x||Arctic Arrogance||Frosted||Linda Rice||Jose Lezcano||2nd in Jerome Stakes||Feb. 4 -- G3 Withers||5/2-3-0||NY-Bred Has Run Well in 2 Open Stakes of Late / Has Useful Speed / Is He Good Enough?|
|20||x||Acoustic Ave||Maclean's Music||Christophe Clement||Manny Franco||1st in Notebook Stakes||Undecided||5/4-0-1||No Works of Late After Stakes Win Last November / NY-Bred Looks Like Sprinter|
|AE||x||Two Phil's||Hard Spun||Larry Rivelli||Jareth Loveberry||2nd in G3 Lecomte||Feb. 18 -- G2 Risen Star||6/3-1-0||Won Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs By Many / Could Jump Up Quickly / Watching|
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