Forte “on schedule” to start season in Fountain of Youth

Forte won the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Photo by Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup.

Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Forte completed his serious preparation for a highly anticipated 2023 debut in next Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park after breezing five furlongs Saturday morning at Palm Beach Downs.

The Todd Pletcher-trained son of Violence closed out his Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old campaign with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland to earn the role of favorite in the Fountain of Youth, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds that will headline a 14-race program with nine stakes, eight graded, worth $1.85 million.

Forte was timed in 1:01.99 for the five-furlong distance for his sixth workout at Palm Beach Downs in preparation for his 3-year-old debut.

“Last week was the work we wanted to make sure that we were on target. We got a good strong work into him. We got a good work today, but after last week, we weren’t looking for him to do too much,” Pletcher said. “We’re right on schedule and think we are where we want to be.”

Forte won four of five starts during his 2-year-old season, which he closed out with victories in the seven-furlong Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga and the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, where he went on to capture the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile by 1 ½ lengths.

Forte is out of the Virginia-bred Blame mare Queen Caroline. In a four-season racing career, Queen Caroline won six of 20 outings, including five stakes wins, and earned over $400,000. She was campaigned by Amy Moore, who, through her South Gate Farm operation, bred Forte.

Amy Moore appeared on the Feb. 25 Off to the Races Radio, which is archived here.