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Japanese raider Epicharis out of the Belmont Stakes

Epicharis (right): ruled out of Belmont on Saturday afternoon
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Epicharis has been scratched from Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the US Triple Crown, after failing the vet at the inspection on the morning of the race.

Third favourite for the 1m4f Grade 1, Epicharis’s absence is the latest blow for the Belmont Stakes with Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness scorer Cloud Computing bypassing the race for other targets.

The Japanese-trained three-year-old had been strongly coveted by US racing officials, and was in line for a $1 million bonus if capturing the Belmont.

However, Epicharis was found to be lame of his off-fore on Wednesday and was not deemed able to take part when checked over by a vet on Saturday.

Martin Panza, New York Racing Association senior vice-president of racing operations, told the Blood Horse: "He still wasn't quite ready."

Scott Palmer, NYRA equine medical director, added: "He had foot soreness earlier in the week and he just wasn’t sound. In a week maybe he could be ready, but we ran out of time. The right decision was made. The top priority is the horse."

Betting for the race is headed by Irish War Cry and Lookin At Lee.

He still wasn't quite ready

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