Monday, 18 June, 2018

Japanese horse Epicharis scratched from Belmont Stakes

Lucia Summers | 13 June, 2017, 10:57

A Triple Crown was out of the picture this year and neither Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming nor Preakness Stakes victor Cloud Computing participated in Saturday's race.

Neither the victor of the Kentucky Derby (Always Dreaming) nor the victor of the Preakness Stakes (Cloud Computing) was in the field.

Tapwrit's late charge overhauled Irish War Cry in the closing stages to win by two lengths in NY, with one-eyed horse Patch, a 13-1 shot, in third.

Todd Pletcher's Tapwrit took the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. on Saturday. This was the second straight year and the 10th time in the past 19 years that the Belmont victor skipped the Preakness after running in the Kentucky Derby.

Epicharis, the early 4-1 second choice, was scratched on race morning after failing to recover from a hoof problem.

All horses running at Belmont Park undergo the same pre-race evaluation to ensure they are fit to compete. His trainer Chad Brown has 20-1 shot Twisted Tom, who brings a three-race winning streak into the race on his home track. The Belmont may be a two-and-a-half minute sprint, but in the fast-paced world of horse racing it can feel like an agonizing marathon; often the horse that can strike late in the last and longest leg of the Triple Crown emerges victorious.

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After the race, the mega-trainer said, "It's our home base and I think that's always an advantage".

"It was everything we talked about in the paddock before the race", Pletcher said. "He got a lovely trip".

In a sport where history tends to repeat itself, a Pletcher horse got another dream trip, just as he did in Louisville with Always Dreaming on the First Saturday in May.

This is his third victor in the Belmont Stakes, with Rags to Riches winning in 2007 and Palace Malice crossing the line first four years ago.

Lookin At Lee - who entered the Stakes at 6-1 odds - was the only horse to run all three legs of the Triple Crown, and he finished in seventh place.

Tapwrit and Patch are trained by Todd Pletcher, who sought his third career Belmont. Veterinarians from NYRA and NY state, along with private vets. have been and will continue to evaluate and provide care to the horse until his departure. He opened the season with a win by his horse Always Dreaming in the Kentucky Derby and closed it with Tapwrit's win in the Belmont. Brands (G1). Pletcher stablemate Patch finished third, another 5 3/4 lengths back.

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