Epicharis walks shedrow, still on for Belmont


ELMONT, N.Y. – Epicharis, who is being treated for an issue with his right front hoof that required him being outfitted in a glue-on shoe, on Friday remained a candidate for the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, even though he did not go to the track at Belmont Park for the second straight morning.

Epicharis walked the quarantine barn’s shedrow under a rider for approximately 12 minutes on Friday morning after being hand-walked for about 20 minutes. During the course of the morning, he was examined by Dr. Anthony Verderosa, the chief veterinarian for the New York Racing Association, and the colt’s private vet was scheduled to look at him later in the day.

After speaking with trainer Kiyoshi Hagiwara, Martin Panza, the senior vice president of racing for NYRA, said Hagiwara was happy with Epicharis’s progress and was hopeful all would be well for a start on Saturday.

According to Panza, Epicharis is standing at times in ice to help with recovery. Panza said the injury was not an abscess, which is what knocked Classic Empire out of the Belmont, but he deferred comment on the specifics of the malady, and Hagiwara was unavailable for comment. Panza said Epicharis would be monitored over the next 24 hours, and that “if something occurs where he goes the wrong way,” the situation could change, but as of now he is scheduled to race.

The Belmont has a current field of 12.

Epicharis has been outfitted with a glue-on shoe on that right front hoof, according to Dr. Scott Palmer, the New York State Equine Medical Director. It was affixed after his original shoe was removed Wednesday, the day Epicharis was treated with Butazolidin, according to veterinary records from the New York State Gaming Commission.

The vet records published for Thursday from the gaming commission disclosed that Epicharis on Thursday was treated only with Ketaprofen, like Butazolidin a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, but one considered less severe than Butazolidin.

Epicharis has not raced since finishing second in the United Arab Emirates Derby on March 25, which was his first loss in five starts.