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I Heard It Through the Horse Racing Betting Grapevine

Horse racing betting fans will happy to know that Irish War Cry – who won the Wood Memorial and finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby – might still run in the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 10th. “After this weekend, I had to think about it a little bit more and not just totally overlook it,” trainer Graham Motion told the Daily Racing Form on Wednesday. “The more I look at the Derby, I feel like he didn’t run his race that day for whatever reason, whether the track or coming back after running such a big race in the Wood.” Speaking of which, IWC beat Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing in the Wood Memorial in April by seven lengths, as people who enjoy betting on horse races may remember.

Japan-based colt Epicharis has been isolated in the quarantine barn at the JRA Miho Training for a week prior to being shipped to the good ol’ US of A. The son of Sunday Silence – who won the 1989 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, as people who like betting on horse races might recall – is expected to arrive at Belmont Park on June 1st. Epicharis was unbeaten as a two-year-old in Japan, and won his first three Japanese starts by a combined 25 lengths. Epicharis had first career at the UAE Derby in March, coming in second behind Thunder Snow. Epicharis could be the biggest Belmont winner, if we add the $800,000 winner’s purse to NYRA’s $1 million bonus to any Japan-based winner. Japanese horse racing betting on the Test of the Champions has received final regulatory approval, making the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes the first Triple Crown event available for pari-mutuel gambling in Japan. Like Cheap Trick, horse racing is big in Japan.

Epicharis hopes – let’s say horses have hopes for the sake of argument – to follow in the hoofsteps of previous foreign sensations such as Lani, Mubtaahij, My Memoirs, Go and Go, and Le Voyageur. Go and Go won the 1990 edition of the Belmont Stakes, while My Memoirs finished 2nd in 1992, Mubtaahij came in 4th in 2015, and Lani was 3rd place in 2016.

Classic Empire is scheduled to start his preparations for the Belmont Stakes with a Friday morning jog at Churchill Downs. “We are really proud of his Preakness effort,” assistant trainer Norm Casse said. “He came out of the race in great shape and we’re excited to get him back to training.” Also based at Churchill Downs, J Boys Echo’s name has been added to the Belmont Stakes tentative field, which goes as follows (subject to change):

  • Classic Empire
  • Conquest Mo Money
  • Epicharis
  • Gormley
  • Irap
  • J Boys Echo
  • Lookin At Lee
  • Meantime
  • Multiplier
  • Patch
  • Senior Investment
  • Tapwrit
  • Twisted Tom

As individuals who indulge in the finer aspects of betting on horse races may notice, neither Kentucky Winner Always Dreaming nor Preakness champion Cloud Computing are expected to compete in Belmont. This is the first time this happens in horse racing betting since 2010.