NEW YORK (AP) — Forte, the Kentucky Derby favorite who was scratched the morning of the race because of a foot injury, had his final workout Saturday for next weekend’s $1.5 million Belmont Skates.
With jockey Irad Ortiz Jr, riding, Forte went five furlongs in 59.67 seconds over a fast main track at Belmont Park. New York Racing Association clockers caught last year’s 2-year-old champion galloping out six furlongs in 1:12 2/5.
“I thought it was a super good breeze,” Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said. “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. However, he missed the Derby and the Preakness because of his bruised right front foot and had to pass a veterinary inspection last week to get back on the track.
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. The colt was seventh in the Derby.
Additional Belmont Stakes workouts on Saturday included the Brad Cox-trained trio of Angel of Empire, Hit Show and Tapit Shoes, who 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.
The Antonio Sano-trained Belmont Stakes hopeful Il Miracolo recorded a five-eighths breeze on Friday at Gulfstream Park in 1:00.88.
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