Champion Forte Draws Post 15 for Kentucky Derby, Tabbed as 3-1 Favorite

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — There was very little suspense during Monday afternoon's GI Kentucky Derby post position draw held in the Aristides Lounge at Churchill Downs as Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable's champion 2-year-old colt and 'TDN Rising Star' Forte (Violence) immediately kicked things off by drawing very well on the outside in post 15.

Tabbed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the full field of 20, last year's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner overcame more than his share of adversity beneath regular rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. while punching his ticket to Louisville with a valiant win in the GI Curlin Florida Derby. Only Street Sense and Nyquist have pulled off the Breeders' Cup Juvenile-Kentucky Derby double so far.

Two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher will also saddle GI Blue Grass S. winner and fellow 'Rising Star' Tapit Trice (Tapit), the second choice on the morning line at 5-1 (post five); and unbeaten GII Louisiana Derby winner Kingsbarns (Uncle Mo) (post six; 12-1).

The latter will look to win the Derby in just his career fourth start, a feat previously accomplished by dual Classic winner Big Brown in 2008 and subsequent Triple Crown winner Justify in 2018.

“I'm good with all of them,” Pletcher said. “Good draws. We're very happy with it.”

Trainer Brad Cox, extremely well-represented by GI Kentucky Oaks morning-line favorite Wet Paint (Blame) and second-choice Botanical (Medaglia d'Oro) in Friday's feature, will also have a fantastic shot in the Derby. Cox will have four chances for a second Derby victory including: GI Arkansas Derby winner Angel of Empire (Classic Empire) (post 14; 8-1); game Blue Grass runner-up Verifying (Justify) (post two; 15-1); Louisiana Derby third and 'Rising Star' Jace's Road (Quality Road) (post 12; 15-1); and narrow GII Wood Memorial S. runner-up Hit Show (Candy Ride {Arg}) (post one; 30-1).

The Oaks/Derby double has only been pulled off three previous times by Herbert J. Thompson in 1933 with Brokers Tip (May 6 Derby) and Barn Swallow (May 20 Oaks); Ben Jones in 1949 with Wistful (May 6 Oaks) and Ponder (May 7 Derby); and Jones again in 1952 with Real Delight (May 2 Oaks) and Hill Gail (May 3 Derby).

The Louisville-born Cox won the 2021 Kentucky Derby via disqualification with Mandaloun.

“Hit Show, it's OK,” Cox said. “We'll live with it. We have to. He's doing great. Manny [Franco] is obviously going to have to work out a trip from down in there. Same thing with Verifying. Tyler [Gaffalione] rides Verifying and both riders are going to have to find a way into the first turn. Angel of Empire, I think it's a good draw. Flavien [Prat] will be able to break running and get a good spot mid-pack. That's what I'm envisioning. Jace's Road will probably be more forwardly placed as opposed to Angel of Empire. Hopefully, he can get himself up into the mix.”

Practical Move (Practical Joke), listed at 10-1 on the morning-line, will exit from post 10 following three straight victories in Southern California, led by a nose decision in the GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby. Trainer Tim Yakteen will also tighten the girth on Arkansas Derby third Reincarnate (Good Magic) (post seven; 50-1).

Drawn on the outside, G2 UAE Derby winner Derma Sotogake (Jpn) (Mind Your Biscuits) (post 17; 10-1) and UAE Derby third Continuar (Jpn) (Drefong) (post 20; 50-1) will both fly the flag for Japan.

The 1 1/4-mile Classic for 3-year-olds will go as the 12th race on Saturday's 14-race Derby Day program with a 6:57 p.m. post time.

From the rail out, the complete field for the Kentucky Derby with morning-line odds:

1-Hit Show (Candy Ride {Arg}) (30-1)

2-Verifying (Justify) (15-1)

3-Two Phil's (Hard Spun) (12-1)

4-Confidence Game (Candy Ride {Arg}) (20-1)

5-Tapit Trice (Tapit) (5-1)

6-Kingsbarns (Uncle Mo) (12-1)

7-Reincarnate (Good Magic) (50-1)

8-Mage (Good Magic) (15-1)

9-Skinner (Curlin) (20-1)

10-Practical Move (Practical Joke) (10-1)

11-Disarm (Gun Runner) (30-1)

12-Jace's Road (Quality Road) (15-1)

13-Sun Thunder (Into Mischief) (30-1)

14-Angel of Empire (Classic Empire) (8-1)

15-Forte (Violence) (3-1)

16-Raise Cain (Violence) (15-1)

17-Derma Sotogake (Jpn) (Mind Your Biscuits) (10-1)

18-Rocket Can (Into Mischief) (15-1)

19-Lord Miles (Curlin) (30-1)

20-Continuar (Jpn) (Drefong) (50-1)

Also-Eligibles: Cyclone Mischief (Into Mischief) (30-1); Mandarin Hero (Jpn) (Shanghai Bobby) (20-1); and King Russell (Creative Cause) (50-1).

All starters will carry 126 pounds.

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