NEW YORK (AP) - The Belmont Stakes is down to 11 horses after Epicharis was scratched by a veterinarian.
The Japanese horse was scratched Saturday morning, about 9½ hours before the $1.5 million race is run at Belmont Park.
Martin Panza of the New York Racing Association says Epicharis wasn't ready to run three days after the colt was treated for lameness in his right front hoof. The horse's Japanese connections had hoped he would still make the race, but Epicharis had not been sent out to train since Tuesday.
A pre-race exam on Saturday morning revealed heat in Epicharis' hoof. The exam is required for all starters in the Belmont.
Irish War Cry is the early 7-2 favorite for the final leg of the Triple Crown series.