The 2023 Kentucky Derby has now come and gone, but it was a week, unlike anything that has come before. There always seems to be some drama surrounding the Kentucky Derby, but it’s hard to comprehend the tragedy and negative new stories that were coming out of Churchill Downs.
For those that are interested in horse racing betting, it has been a bit crazy over the past few weeks. The hope is that things will start to settle down once it comes time for the other Triple Crown events, but it’s hard to comprehend what took place in the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby.
The sport of horse racing continues to have a pretty massive following, although it’s not a sport that tends to attract young fans. There have been some very negative news stories coming out of this sport in recent years, and that was the case over the last few weeks.
Forte Forced to Withdrawal
There were several big news stories that came out of Kentucky Derby Week, but the biggest was the withdrawal of the betting favorite. Forte was the betting favorite at 3-1 heading into the Derby, but that horse wasn’t even able to line up in the starting gates to get things going.
Forte suffered an injury during training on the day leading up to the Kentucky Derby, and his training team did not feel comfortable with him running the race. That was a significant development to the 2023 Kentucky Derby as it removed the betting favorite from the race.
The big question now for Forte is his availability for the Preakness Stakes, and that is actually going to be left up to the doctors. Officials at Churchill Downs placed Forte on the veterinary list, and he could remain on that for a period of 14 days.
A group of veterinarians will have to take a close look at Forte during the week leading up to the Preakness Stakes to determine if the horse is ready to run. Forte was seen on the track just days after the Kentucky Derby for a training session, but it was a disappointing week for the horse and its owners.
The decision by Forte’s owners and trainers to keep him out of the Kentucky Derby did have a big impact on the overall betting numbers. There were a slew of bets that had to be refunded or waived as anyone that originally bet on the favorite were out of the running.
Seven Deaths Cast Horrible Shadow
The withdrawal of Forte from the 2023 Kentucky Derby was a massive blow to the sport, but that was only a minor issue compared to what else took place. In the week leading up to the Kentucky Derby, there were seven horses that passed away due to injuries that happened during training.
Churchill Downs Inc. officials immediately looked into all of the deaths from the horses, and there wasn’t a constant thread that stood out based on the early reports. Saffie Joseph Jr. was actually suspended by Churchill Downs after two of his horses passed away from injuries on the track.
There are several layers to this story, especially as it hasn’t been confirmed that any of the injuries or deaths have been connected. You can expect that officials will stop at nothing to find out the truth about what went down, but in some cases there were just some fluke injuries that took place.
Deaths tend to be a part of horse racing, especially when horses get pushed too hard during racing. Not only are these deaths extremely sad, but it’s also something that costs the owners of the horses thousands or millions of dollars.
Fortunately the Kentucky Derby race was able to be run without any major issues, and the horses that ran in the big race all seem to be fine. Churchill Downs officials are going to be implementing new rules and strategies moving forward to keep horses safe for the upcoming events.
Mage Rises Above
With all of the injuries and deaths that took place during Derby week, there was a chance for a horse to rise above and take advantage. The horse that was able to break through was Mage as it won the 2023 Kentucky Derby with 15-1 odds.
Mage was a horse that didn’t seem to get a ton of attention heading into the 2023 Derby, but it should have been on the radar of jockeys and bettors before the gun sounded. Now Mage is the only horse with a chance to win the Triple Crown in 2023, but there is plenty of work to be done before that is the case.
This was a horse that was relatively unknown heading into 2023, but things started to change in the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby. There were still some questions about the ability of Mage to run at a distance like the Derby, but it proved to have plenty in the tank for a strong finish.
Now that Mage has won the Kentucky Derby, the name of the horse will live on forever.
Preakness Officials On Edge
The Preakness Stakes will once again be held at Pimlico Race Course, and preparations have been taking place for months. There are times in which the Preakness tends to get overlooked a bit, but that’s definitely not going to be the case this year.
The officials at the Pimlico Race Course are going to have to keep a close eye on all of the horses, and on the trainers that are in attendance as well. Everyone is going to be on edge based on what happened at Churchill Downs, and every single training run will be under the microscope.
Mage will be the biggest concern in the week leading up to the Preakness as this race course wants to give the Derby winner the perfect treatment. A win for the Preakness Stakes and the Pimlico Race Course would be a week without any deaths or injuries during training for any of the horses.