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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Kentucky Derby Field Drops to 18; Seventh Horse Dies at Churchill Downs

  • Skinner, who had 20-1 odds to win, has become the fourth scratch from the Kentucky Derby.
  • It has been a tragic start at Churchill Downs, where four horses have died since April 27.
This year's four scratches are the most since the 2015 Kentucky Derby
Louisville Courier Journal-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky Derby favorite Forte was scratched from Saturday’s race earlier today after a workout, Churchill Downs announced.

On Friday, Skinner has been scratched from the race. Five horses have been scratched from this year’s race, the most in a Kentucky Derby since 1936.

Forte, who is on a five-race winning streak, had been listed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite to win the Derby and was at 4-1 before he was scratched.

Skinner, who had 20-1 odds to win the Kentucky Derby, was scratched due to an elevated temperature. Practical Move, Lord Miles, and Continuar had been scratched earlier this week. Last year’s Kentucky Derby included a maximum of 20 horses, while the 13-horse race in 2020 was the lowest field for a Kentucky Derby this century.

This year’s Kentucky Derby prize purse is $3 million for the fifth consecutive year, and the winner will receive $1.86 million. Forte is the 3-1 betting favorite to win the race. 

Ian Rapoport’s horse “Jace’s Road” is a 50-1 long shot. The NFL Network Insider, Joy Taylor, and Lindsay Czarniak of Fox Sports are the part owners.

The race’s scheduled start time is 6:57 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.

This year’s Kentucky Derby has also been marred by the deaths of six horses at Churchill Downs since April 27.

On Saturday, Chloe’s Dream was taken off the track after Race 2 and was euthanized due to a right front knee injury, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. Freezing Point, who was injured during the eighth race, was also euthanized.

Wild on Ice and Take Charge Briana were euthanized after suffering musculoskeletal injuries. Parents Pride and Chasing Artie collapsed after races, and officials are investigating the cause of their deaths.

Churchill Downs has suspended Saffie Joseph, who trained Parents Pride and Chasing Artie. 

“Given the unexplained sudden deaths, we have reasonable concerns about the condition of his horses and decided to suspend him indefinitely until details are analyzed and understood,” Bill Mudd, President, and COO of Churchill Downs Incorporated, said in a statement. 

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