Ten years after highly-regarded Violence was knocked off the Triple Crown trail by injury, his son Forte ranks as a leading candidate for the 2023 Kentucky Derby (G1). Adding to the father-and-son dynamic is that Todd Pletcher has trained both.
Here are 12 pedigree fun facts to know about Forte, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) hero:
1. Violence vaulted to the forefront of the Kentucky Derby picture with a perfect two-year-old campaign, highlighted by the 2012 CashCall Futurity (G1) and Nashua (G2). As the 3-5 favorite in the 2013 Fountain of Youth (G2), Violence was a valiant second to Orb, exited with an injury, and retired. The what-might-have-beens loomed large when Orb went on to win the Derby.
2. Violence’s sire, Medaglia d’Oro, was himself a major player throughout the 2002 Triple Crown. Runner-up in the Belmont (G1), Medaglia d’Oro later starred in the Travers (G1) and developed into a top older horse. He added wins in such prestigious events as the 2003 Whitney H. (G1) and 2004 Donn H. (G1) (the race that evolved into the Pegasus World Cup), along with seconds in the Dubai World Cup (G1) and back-to-back runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

3. Medaglia d’Oro excelled himself at stud, contributing to his branch of the Northern Dancer sire line, via the celebrated European patriarch Sadler’s Wells. He sired Hall of Famer Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Horse of the Year after beating males in the Preakness (G1), Haskell (G1), and Woodward (G1); two-time champion Songbird; current Hong Kong superstar Golden Sixty; and Bolt d’Oro, now the top freshman sire of 2022 with several on the Derby trail including Instant Coffee.

4. Violence’s dam, Violent Beauty, is inbred to the legendary Secretariat. Violent Beauty is by the influential Mr. Prospector stallion Gone West, and her dam is by supersire Storm Cat. Both Gone West and Storm Cat are out of Secretariat mares, thereby duplicating the 1973 Triple Crown legend in her pedigree. Moreover, Violent Beauty’s dam is out of Hall of Famer Sky Beauty, whose nine Grade 1 wins include a sweep of New York’s “Filly Triple Crown” – the Acorn (G1), Mother Goose (G1), and Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) – in 1993.

5. Forte’s dam, Queen Caroline, was trained by Michael Matz of Barbaro fame. A multiple stakes winner on turf, Queen Caroline registered her biggest win in the 2016 Indiana Grand S. Coincidentally, the 2018 edition of that same stakes was won by Beyond Blame, the dam of Loggins, who was just outdueled by Forte in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1). In a further connection, both Beyond Blame and Queen Caroline are by Blame.

6. Broodmare sire Blame is best known for spoiling Zenyatta’s retirement party in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Also the winner of that season’s Whitney and Stephen Foster H. (G1), Blame earned the Eclipse Award as champion older male. He has sired good colts, chief among them unbeaten Nadal, who won the Rebel (G2) and a division of the Arkansas Derby (G1) in the pandemic-scrambled 2020 season. Yet most of Blame’s best runners have been fillies. So it’s not surprising that he is emerging as a broodmare sire. 

7. Blame, who hails from the sire line of 1972 Epsom Derby hero Roberto, also has all-time great English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky II on his maternal side. His dam, Broodmare of the Year Liable, descends from the rich family of European supersires Nureyev and Sadler’s Wells (mentioned above as the male-line ancestor of Forte).

8. Forte inherits a second cross of Storm Cat from Queen Caroline’s dam, Queens Plaza. By the speedy Storm Cat stallion Forestry, Queens Plaza was a precocious juvenile who scored her signature win in the 2004 Sorority S. at Monmouth. She is in turn out of a well-bred mare by 1977 Triple Crown champion Seattle Slew

9. Forte’s fourth dam, multiple Grade 3 winner Jeano, won or placed in 16 stakes during her 49-race career. She earned three of her notable victories at Keeneland, in the 1993 Thoroughbred Club of America (G3) and two editions of the Doubledogdare S. (1992 and 1994). Jeano was trained by Carl Nafzger for Frances A. Genter Stable, connections forever associated with 1990 Derby hero Unbridled. Also like Unbridled, Jeano is by the outstanding sire Fappiano

10. Jeano is the ancestress of Breeders’ Cup-winning champions Essential Quality and Folklore. Essential Quality, the 2020 Juvenile victor, turned the Belmont/Travers double in 2021 to follow up as champion at three as well. Folklore, the 2005 Juvenile Fillies (G1) heroine, is herself the granddam of 2020 Japanese Triple Crown sweeper Contrail.

11. Forte’s fifth dam, Basie, starred in the 1985 Delaware H. (G1) when it was staged at Saratoga. A 9-1 chance carrying just 110 pounds, she upset Heatherten (126 pounds) and champion Life’s Magic (122 pounds) in the 1 1/4-mile feature.

12. Forte traces to all-time great broodmare *La Troienne, whose tribe (labeled the 1-x family) is responsible for four Kentucky Derby winners – Sea Hero (1993), Go for Gin (1994), Smarty Jones (2004), and Super Saver (2010). Of these, “Smarty” is the nearest relative to Forte, since his dam was closely related to Basie.