Mage, a 15-to-1 shot, won Saturday’s 149th running of the Kentucky Derby by a length.
The Kentucky Derby lost its early favorite when Fort was scratched And two more horses diedFollowing a Horse death string At Churchill Downs earlier in the week, a series of doping suspensions and breakdowns already hurt more for a game.
“It’s part of racing and it’s the cruel part,” Forte co-owner Mike Repole said in an interview with FanDuel TV.
Had just one win in three previous races before holding off two fillies in the stretch while covering 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.57 under Javier Castellano. The Hall of Fame jockey snapped an 0-for-15 skid in the Derby. He and coach Gustavo Delgado hail from Venezuela.
Fort was the fifth scratch from the Derby leading up to the $3 million race for 3-year-olds. Chloe’s Dream, a 3-year-old gelding, and Freezing Point, a 3-year-old colt, were injured in their run on the Derby undercard and died Saturday at Churchill Downs.
The string of horse deaths on mostly cloudy and warm days left some Derby-goers stunned.
“It’s concerning, and I hope they’re doing everything they can quickly to correct whatever’s going on,” said Michael Friese, who dressed as a jockey with his friend. “You have to do what’s best for the horse and for the sport in general.”
Chloe’s dream was injured in the second race on Saturday. Trainer Jeff Hills confirmed to The Associated Press that the horse was taken to an equestrian ambulance with a right front knee injury and was euthanized.
“He took a bad step there,” Hills said. “They could have done the same thing in the field as they did on the track. So it’s very unfortunate. That’s what we deal with.”
Freezing Point in the Pat Day Mile suffered a left ankle injury and was euthanized, trainer Joe Lezerowicz told the AP. He said Fort Bragg, who finished third, moved during the race and hit the freezing point.
“He just crashed on the backstretch,” Lazerowicz said. “He never made a bad move or babbled. He had a big heart.”
New antidoping and drug rules enforced by the sport’s central governing body are scheduled to come into effect on May 22.
“Something’s happening,” said Pat Murtha, who was attending his first derby. “They need to be found, and some rules and regulations need to be set to protect these animals.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.