By Cathy Kuehner
The odds-on favorite to win the 149th Kentucky Derby is a dark bay colt raised on a Clarke County farm. Forte won four of five races as a 2-year old and both his starts as a 3-year old; most recently the $1 million Florida Derby in April. In 2014, Amy Moore, who owns South Gate Farm in Millwood,
purchased a filly named Queen Caroline that won four stakes races and earned more than $400,000 before joining the South Gate broodmare band. Moore shipped Queen Caroline to Kentucky to be bred. Forte was born in February 2020, and Amy brought the foal and Queen Caroline back to Millwood, where the colt spent the remainder of his weanling year before going back to Kentucky for the 2020 fall sale at Keeneland.
The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of racing’s Triple Crown, and should Forte win the Preakness and Belmont stakes, too, he will be carrying on Clarke County’s long association with champion Thoroughbreds. In 1919, Sir Barton became the first-ever Triple Crown winner, and after his racing career he stood at stud at Audley Farm
The “Triple Crown” title was formally proclaimed in 1950 by the Thoroughbred Racing Association, and was retroactively awarded to horses that previously won all three races. In almost 150 years, only 13 horses have won the Triple Crown: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), American Pharoah (2015), and Justify (2018).