LOUISVILLE, Ky. – TDN Senior Racing Editor Steve Sherack catches up with the connections of leading GI Kentucky Derby contenders to get their ‘Early Impressions.’
Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s champion 2-year-old colt and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Forte (Violence) will look to join Street Sense and Nyquist as GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winners to capture the roses the following spring.
The dark bay heads to the Kentucky Derby as the one to beat following impressive victories in this term’s GII Fountain of Youth S. and GI Curlin Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. A runaway debut winner going five furlongs at Belmont Park late last May, he concluded his juvenile campaign with three straight wins at the top level.
Forte learned his early lessons at Ocala Stud in Florida before heading to two-time Kentucky Derby winning-trainer Todd Pletcher last spring.
“He’s the one that we identified early on as being the cream of the crop,” Ocala Stud’s David O’Farrell said.
“He was very forward. He was a horse that from day one was super athletic. We felt like he could be a really good 2-year-old and he had enough stretch that maybe he could be a two-turn horse. You just never really envisioned him as being the Derby favorite a year later, but anything is possible. He was a horse that never had a bad day. He was one of the first two that we sent in to Pletcher in March of last year to get ready for Saratoga. We felt like he was going to be really precocious and a horse that would be a lot of fun in the summertime for the partnership of Repole and St. Elias. He’s one of those that not only did he perform as a 2-year-old, he just kept getting better and better and better.”
O’Farrell concluded, “It’s been really exciting to watch. He’s just an awfully nice horse that we’re fortunate enough to be a part of.”
Bred in Kentucky by Amy Moore’s South Gate Farm, the $80,000 Keeneland November weanling turned $110,000 Keeneland September yearling is one of 15 graded winners worldwide for Violence and is the first foal out of four-time stakes winner Queen Caroline (Blame). Forte’s half-brother by Uncle Mo brought $850,000 from Mayberry Farm at last year’s Keeneland September sale.
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