June 8, 2023

Belmont contender Epicharis under injury cloud

Japan's Belmont Stakes (G1) hopeful Epicharis galloped at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 3, 2017 (c) NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography

Japan’s Belmont S. (G1) hopeful, Epicharis, was administered two grams of phenylbutazone (Bute) by IV Wednesday evening after exhibiting lameness in his right front, as revealed by his veterinary record published by the New York State Gaming Commission.

However, the bay son of Gold Allure is still expected to make the 1 1/2-mile third jewel of the Triple Crown on Saturday.

“He looked a little different favoring his right front yesterday afternoon, so we treated his hoof and gave him bute,” trainer Kiyoshi Hagiwara explained through a Japan Racing Association interpreter. “It looks like it is getting better and I think there is no problem with him running in the race. We still have time so we will give him the best care we can.”

Epicharis, whose only loss came in a photo in the UAE Derby (G2) last out, breezed five furlongs Tuesday in 1:06.06 and has walked the shedrow since. He skipped his Thursday morning training session but Hagiwara plans to send the colt out to train on the track Friday morning.

Drawn in post 11 of 12, Epicharis is in line for a $1 million bonus if he can become the first Japanese-based runner to win the Belmont. He is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line.