02/23/2017 3:06PM

Epicharis to run in UAE Derby

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Japan Racing Association
Epicharis (right) wins the Hyacinth Stakes in Tokyo on Sunday.

Epicharis, who won the Hyacinth Stakes last Sunday in Tokyo to move to the top of the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby points list, has accepted an invitation to the United Arab Emirates Derby on March 25 at Meydan, the Japan Racing Association said on Thursday.

This is a significant step for Epicharis, for it puts him on the same schedule now as Lani, who won the UAE Derby last year before coming to the United States for the Kentucky Derby, in which he finished ninth. Lani subsequently was third in the Belmont Stakes.

Lani finished fifth last year in the Hyacinth before going to the UAE Derby.

Epicharis has won all four of his starts. His position atop the Japan Road to the Derby points list guarantees him a spot in the Kentucky Derby on May 6 at Churchill Downs should he head this way after running in Dubai. His participation would allow the Derby to be wagered upon in Japan, with revenue coming to Churchill Downs and its horsemen.