149th Belmont Stakes: Shootin’ Craps

Ron Correll
Senior columnist
Tracksideview —-

Epicharis; Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher

I’m going to start this off by admitting I don’t have clue on handicapping this race. Most of the horses in here are eligible for non-winners of whatever and Irish War Cry has become the morning-line favorite by default.

The only horse in this field that I have been impressed with is Epicharis, the Japanese horse that was second in the UAE Derby to Thunder Snow. I won’t let Thunder Snow’s antics in the Kentucky Derby influence what I think of Epicharis.

The Japanese-bred son of Gold Allure qualified as the entry for the Kentucky Derby from that country by winning the points’ series there, but his connections chose not to come to that race. They indicated early on that they were pointing to the Belmont Stakes. That’s good enough for me.

But what does concern me is the colt was treated for lameness on Wednesday (June 7) and missed a training session on June 8. He is scheduled to resume training early Friday morning, trainer Kiyoshi Hagiwara said.

This is what was reported from Belmont Park. He was treated with two grams of phenylbutazone administered by IV, according to New York State Gaming Commission records, after his connections noticed that the Japanese-bred son of Gold Allure was off in his right front.

“He looked a little different favoring his right front yesterday afternoon, so we treated his hoof and gave him bute,” said Hagiwara via 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 breezed five furlongs in 1:06.06 on Tuesday morning, his final work ahead of Saturday’s Belmont.

I really can’t get behind anybody else in the field because they all have been so inconsistent. You could throw the rest up against the wall and see what sticks.

Let’s look at the contenders and see what we have. I’ll list the horses in post-position starting from the rail with odds.

Twisted Tom (post 1, 20-1) was first in the Frederic Tesio at Laurel Park.

Tapwrit (2, 6-1) was sixth in the Kentucky Derby.

Gormley (3, 8-1) was ninth in the Derby

J Boys Echo (4, 15-1) was 15th in the Derby

Hollywood Handsome (5, 30-1) had an allowance win over older horses at Churchill Downs.

Lookin At Lee (6, 5-1) was fourth in the Preakness after being second in the Derby.

Irish War Cry (7, 7-2) was 10th in the Derby

Senior Investment (8, 12-1) was third in the Preakness but he was a long way back.

Meantime (9, 15-1) was second in the Peter Pan, which is the Belmont prep.

Multiplier (10, 15-1) was sixth in the Preakness.

Epicharis (9, 4-1) was second by a short head in the UAE Derby.

Patch (12, 12-1) was 14th in the Derby.

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