The standard pre-race examination of Carrot Farm's Japanese stakes winner Epicharis Saturday morning by NYRA Chief Examing Veterinarian Dr. Anthony Verderosa, revealed continued inflammation in the horse's right front. As a result, the runner-up in the UAE Derby was scratched from the 149th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, presented by NYRA Bets.
“This was a minor issue, but the team has done a great job to care for the horse over the past few days and, while we are greatly disappointed for the fans of Epicharis, we have to face the fact that he is not able to compete today,” said Kiyoshi Hagiwara, Epichararis' trainer, via Japan Racing Association translator Soshi Inoue.
“The horse was close to being able to compete but we ran out of time. We'd like to thank the team of veterinarians and staff for their hard work. We look forward to getting Epicharis home and back to the racetrack very soon,” Hagiwara added.
Epicharis is scheduled to ship back to Japan Thursday, June 15 at 4 a.m.
Installed as the 4-1 second choice on the morning line for the Belmont, Epicharis was diagnosed and treated on Wednesday. NYRA, New York state and private vets have been and will continue to evaluate and provide care to the horse until his departure.
All horses running at Belmont Park undergo the same pre-race evaluation to ensure they are fit to compete.
The defection of Epicharis brings the Belmont field to 11 starters, led by 7-2 morning-line favorite Irish War Cry.
The field for the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes, from the rail out: Twisted Tom (20-1); Tapwrit (6-1); Gormley (8-1); J Boys Echo (15-1); Hollywood Handsome (30-1); Lookin At Lee (5-1); Irish War Cry (7-2); Senior Investment (12-1); Meantime (15-1); Multiplier (15-1); Patch (12-1).
Separate, non-comingled wagering on the Belmont Stakes opened in Japan at 6:30 a.m. ET and will remain open for the race.
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