Epicharis Unlikely To Run In Kentucky Derby; Possible For Preakness, Belmont

by | 03.26.2017 | 10:31am
The Japan-based Epicharis training ahead of the UAE Derby in Dubai

Japan's high-class sophomore colt Epicharis, a very good second to Thunder Snow in yesterday's UAE Derby in Dubai, is unlikely to race in this year's Kentucky Derby, according to several Japanese media outlets.

The Kiyoshi Hagiwara-trained son of Gold Allure had earned a spot in the starting gate by virtue of his win in the inaugural Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby's top points race, the Hyacinth Stakes. His second-place effort at Meydan also earned him 40 traditional points toward the Kentucky Derby, which currently place the colt seventh on the leaderboard.

One position in the Kentucky Derby starting gate is awarded to the horse that accrues the most points in the “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby” and accepts an invitation to compete. That invitation will go to Epicharis. Should the connections of Epicharis decline, the horse with the second-most points, Cattleya Sho winner Mont Saint Legame (Jpn) may accept. If Mont Saint Legame declines, the horse with the third-most points, Hyacinth runner-up Adirato (Jpn) may accept. No other invitation will be extended beyond the top three point earners.

Epicharis' connections appear to be targeting the Preakness and/or the Belmont Stakes instead of the Kentucky Derby, which may open up the invitation to Mont Saint Legame or even Adirato. Sports Hochi, a Japanese sports newspaper, reported that Epicharis will not contest the Kentucky Derby “by reason of quarantine.” Naoya Yoshida also announced on Twitter that Epicharis would skip the Kentucky Derby.

In addition, kentuckyderby.com reported that Epicharis' “connections had initially sounded more inclined to pursue the Belmont.”

Epicharis won his three juvenile starts in Japan by a combined 25 lengths, and the Hyacinth at the start of his 2017 campaign by a half-length over fellow UAE Derby contender Adirato (12th). The UAE Derby was the first defeat of his career, and the locally-based Thunder Snow was only just able to get his head in front of the game Japanese colt at the wire.

  • Sampan

    I think Epicharis is a nice race horse, I like the way he broke from the gate
    If I could pick a rider for him I would choose Bejarano or Castellano.
    They are good at feathering the gas pedal when rating their horses.

  • Richard C

    The tantalizing smell of roses is often impossible to pass up for any owner with a qualifying ticket — but it appears the connections of Epicharis have mapped out a plan that will not be rushed.

  • Whynotwest

    This is unfortunate. The issue that I now have is this horse (who, in my opinion belonged) passing the race opens the door for one of the two other Japanese horses to get in. I’m not sure those horses are as legitimate as Epicharis.

    • Rideonruffian

      I don’t know, I thought Mont Saint looked pretty good with his earlier win.

  • Terri Z

    Since Epicharis’ grand sire, Sunday Silence, didn’t win the Belmont maybe that is what they are aiming for. It would be pretty cool for Sunday Silence’s grandson to win the Belmont for him.
    And it could be they want to give the horse a break between all that travel. If they turn him out at a farm in the US, wouldn’t it be cool if he went to where Sunday Silence was bred?

  • soxbills

    Wow. Tons of Northern Dancer blood in him

  • I am very impressed with this colt. He’s got the temperament, true action and class to be a major Triple Crown player.

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