Tammy Fox, J Boys Echo

In this April 28, 2017, file photo exercise rider Tammy Fox gallops Kentucky Derby hopeful J Boys Echo at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. 

Associated Press file photo by Garry Jones

I was all set to make Epicharis my top pick in the Belmont Stakes after following him closely and hoping he would run in the Kentucky Derby. But Thursday morning's reports of lameness have that opinion in jeopardy, and he looks to likely scratch.

The Epicharis opinion was largely based on this not being the strongest group, and without him, that opinion does not change.

All in all, this is a tough group to handicap. We don’t know whether Epicharis is in or out, but not going to the track Thursday means I can't bet on him.

The truth is, I don’t have a strong opinion on this race. I’m willing to let Irish War Cry beat me as the favorite and look elsewhere.

J Boys Echo ran well in New York and beat a horse called Cloud Computing, who won a nice race three weeks ago for us. He has worked well and could get back to his big number, and he will be a huge price.

Tapwrit ran well in the Derby and a repeat actually puts him in the mix — big-time. Gormley is the type of grinder who can work his way to a win in the Belmont.

CHOK'S CHOICES:

1. J Boys Echo (4) 

2. Tapwrit (2)

3. Gormley (3)