Sometimes looks can be deceiving. An athlete might look like a prime timer but then perform like a re-run. The old saying can be “Looks like Tarzan, runs like Jane”. The likely early Kentucky Derby favorite came onto the track for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile looking like a $100 bill on November 4. And then ran like that and then some.
Forte is a strapping son of Violence that runs out of the Todd Pletcher barn. Coming to Keeneland with three wins in four starts, he certainly was a two-year-old colt to contend with. As the ten entrants made their way onto the Kentucky dirt, Forte was looking more than fabulous. On his toes and glistening in the afternoon sun, comparing him to the king of the jungle may have not done him justice. Question was, when the gates opened would he be swinging from the vines?
Breaking alertly, Forte ran mid-pack while the heavily favored Cave Rock lead through solid opening fractions (22.91 opening quarter, 47.01 half mile). Turning for home, this grandson of Blame swung to the outside and unleashed his jungle call. Powerfully striding to the front at the top of the short stretch, Forte made the lead and looked every bit the best. Winning by a widening length and a half, Pletcher’s charge was even better than he looked…if that’s possible.
The road to the 2023 Kentucky Derby has begun and Tarzan is on the trail.