Epicharis Looking to Win the Belmont Stakes for Japan

This year’s Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 10 has a little international intrigue, as the Japan-based Epicharis is making the trip to the Big Apple and is getting some early betting action for the third jewel of the Triple Crown.

The colt is the co-second choice in early Belmont Stakes betting at 5-1 along with Lookin At Lee. Classic Empire is the solid early wagering favorite at odds of 2-1.

Epicharis is looking to become the first Japan-based runner to win a U.S. Triple Crown race. The last Belmont Stakes winner bred outside the U.S. was Victory Gallop, the Canadian bred winning in 1998.

The last Belmont winner to be bred overseas was Go and Go, who was bred in Ireland and won the 1990 edition.

A total of nine Belmont winners have been bred outside of the U.S. but just two since Celtic Ash (England) in 1960.

Epicharis won his first four starts in Japan by a combined 25 ¾ lengths and then was beaten just a head in the UAE Derby (G2) at Meydan Race Course on March 25.

That effort earned him a starting spot in the Kentucky Derby (G1), but his connections elected to skip the Run for the Roses and point toward the longer Belmont Stakes, which is contested at 1 ½ miles.

The colt’s sire is Gold Allure, who is a son of Sunday Silence, who won the 1989 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and ran second in the Belmont Stakes to Easy Goer.

Go and Go, the last Belmont Stakes winner to come from overseas, came into the race off a fourth-place finish in the Derrinstown Stud E.B.F. Derby Trial Stakes (G2) at Leopardstown but he was not a stranger to U.S. racing.

He shipped to the U.S. the previous fall and won the Laurel Futurity (G2) at Laurel Park and then was eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). He paid $17.00 for his Belmont Stakes victory and won just one of his last six career starts.

For Epicharis to win the Belmont Stakes he will have to do so off a 77-day break. No horse in the past three decades has won the race off such a long break. The longest time between races was Rags to Riches’ 36-day break between her win in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and her Belmont victory.

While the colt will not have to face either the Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming or the Preakness winner Cloud Computing, he still has quite a test in front of him.

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