Forte Schools at Gulfstream Ahead of Florida Derby

March 29, 2023

Forte schooling ahead of the Florida Derby on Saturday (Coglianese)

Thursday’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $900,000

Guaranteed Pools for Saturday’s Late Multi-Race Wagers

Mandatory Rainbow 6 Payout Set for Sunday

Kentucky Derby Radar:

Gulfstream Park Press Release

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Forte schooled in the Gulfstream Park paddock and walking ring during Race 6 on Wednesday’s program in preparation for his highly anticipated run in Saturday’s $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa.

Forte has been installed as the 4-5 morning-line favorite in a full field of 12 3-year-olds entered in the 1 1/8-mile Triple Crown prep.

“He looks great,” said Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher with his eyes focused on the ever-so-cool Florida Derby favorite taking in his surroundings while circling the walking ring.

The Eclipse Award juvenile champion of 2022 schooled on back-to-back days prior to his impressive victory in the March 4 Fountain of Youth (G2). After watching the dark bay picture of a Thoroughbred’s schooling session, his trainer wasn’t sure if he would schedule another session.

“I was thinking the same thing right now. Being so good, I just might leave it at that,” Pletcher said. “We’ll see.”

Forte established himself as a clear early favorite for the May 6 Kentucky Derby (G1) when with his sparkling 2023 debut in the Fountain of Youth (G2). The son of Violence, who had won three consecutive Grade 1 races to finish his 2022 championship season, raced between horses while rating off the early pace before advancing along the backstretch, swinging four-wide into the stretch and drawing away to a 4 ½-length victory under Irad Ortiz Jr.

Forte has trained forwardly for the Florida Derby at Palm Beach Downs.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with how everything’s gone,” Pletcher said. “We’re just waiting on the race.”

Pletcher’s stable will be represented in six other stakes on Saturday’s 14-race program that will be closed out by the 72nd running of the Florida Derby with Forte as the star attraction. The Hall of Fame trainer is also scheduled to saddle King’s Fortune, a sharp debut winner on Tapeta who accompanied Forte during Wednesday’s schooling session, for the Cutler Bay, a 7 ½-furlong turf stakes for 3-year-olds, in Race 3; Abaan, a Grade 3 winner on Gulfstream’s turf course, for the Pan American (G2), a 1 ½-mile turf stakes for older horses, in Race 5; My Prankster, who won the Swale (G3) last year, for the $100,000 Sir Shackleton, a seven-furlong sprint for older horses, in Race 9; Aunt Shirley, a lightly raced daughter of Justify, for the $100,000 Sanibel Island, a 7 ½-furlong turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies; Miracle,, who finished second in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds last time out, and Atomically, who finished third in the Forward Gal (G2) in her 2023 debut, for the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) presented by FanDuel TV, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies; in Race 12; and Steady On, who finished a close-up second in the Canadian Turf (G3), for the $150,000 Appleton, a mile turf stakes for older horses; in Race 13.

Thursday’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $900,000

The 20-cent Rainbow 6 gross jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $900,000 for Thursday’s program at Gulfstream Park.

The popular multi-race wager went unsolved Wednesday for the 16th consecutive racing day following a mandatory payout March 5.

Thursday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 4-9. Including the Race 7 feature, an $86,000 optional claiming allowance for older horses at 1 ½ miles on turf. Todd Pletcher-trained Patou Road, a lightly raced 4-year-old son of Quality Road, enters the feature off a 1 3/16-mile maiden special weight win on Tapeta and a runner-up finish in a 1 3/8-mile optional claiming allowance at 1 3/8 miles.

The Rainbow 6 jackpot is paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.

A Rainbow 6 mandatory payout is scheduled for next Sunday, the last day of the Championship Meet.

On Saturday’s Curlin Florida Derby program, the Late Pick 5 pool will be guaranteed at $1 million, while the Late Pick 4 pool will be guaranteed at $750,000. The Late Pick 5 will span Races 10-14, while the Late Pick 4 will span Races 11-14. The Florida Derby will anchor both sequences.

Full advance wagering on Saturday’s program will be available at Gulfstream Park on Friday.

Who’s Hot: Trainer Edgar Bayeh saddled a pair of winners with Chess Not Checkers ($6) in Race 3 Lunar Rocket ($5.40) in Race 6.

Leading jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. rode both of Bayeh’s winners before completing a triple aboard Laniakea Storm ($4.40) in Race 8.

Paco Lopez doubled with Hunter ($11) in Race 1 and Charlie’s Wish ($2.60) in Race 7.

Nice score King! @jonathanstettin Well played with the 4 singled on one ticket. 2 times! Big congrats.

Michael R. Snow (@theWynnDough) View testimonials