Forte, the Kentucky Derby favorite who was scratched due to a foot injury, had his final workout for next weekend’s $1.5 million Belmont Stakes. Forte went five furlongs in 59.67 seconds over a fast main track at Belmont Park. He won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park this season following his Eclipse Award-earning season. The Pletcher-trainer Tapit Trice also had his final workout for the Belmont, going a half-mile in 49.89 seconds and galloping out five-eighths in 1:02. Additional Belmont Stakes workouts on Saturday included the Brad Cox-trained trio of Angel of Empire, Hit Show and Tapit Shoes.
The excitement is building as the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes approaches next weekend. Forte, the Kentucky Derby favorite who was scratched due to a foot injury, had his final workout on Saturday at Belmont Park with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. riding. Clocking in at five furlongs in 59.67 seconds over a fast main track, Forte showed no signs of his previous injury. The New York Racing Association clockers caught the 2-year-old champion galloping out six furlongs in 1:12 2/5.
“I thought it was a super good breeze,” said Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. “He went 59 and 3 and it looked like he was doing it well within himself, good gallop out. He came back and cooled out quickly. It was exactly what we were hoping for.”
Forte won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park this season, following his Eclipse Award-earning season. Unfortunately, he missed the Derby and the Preakness due to his bruised right front foot. However, he passed a veterinary inspection last week and is ready to compete in the Belmont Stakes.
Todd Pletcher also had another horse, Tapit Trice, compete in the Belmont Stakes. The colt was seventh in the Derby and had his final workout, going a half-mile in 49.89 seconds and galloping out five-eighths in 1:02.
Other horses had their final workouts on Saturday as well. The Brad Cox-trained trio of Angel of Empire, Hit Show, and Tapit Shoes each covered five furlongs at Churchill Downs. Arkansas Derby winner Angel of Empire posted the fastest work of the three, timed in 59.80 seconds. Tapit Shoes logged his exercise in 1:00.60 while Hit Show stopped the clock in 1:01.60.
Belmont Stakes hopeful Il Miracolo, trained by Antonio Sano, recorded a five-eighths breeze on Friday at Gulfstream Park in 1:00.88.
The Belmont Stakes is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, following the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. It is known as the “Test of the Champion” and is the longest of the three races at 1 1/2 miles. The race has a rich history, dating back to 1867, and has seen some of the greatest horses in history compete.
As the anticipation builds for next weekend’s race, fans and bettors alike will be keeping a close eye on Forte and the other competitors. With their final workouts complete, it’s now up to the horses to show what they’re made of on race day.
Stay tuned for more updates on the Belmont Stakes and the world of horse racing.