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Blog - RACING

Palace Malice became a 3-year-old championship contender when he won the 2013 Belmont Stakes (Photos courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).

Palace Malice has had a very nice year and could contend for the 3-year-old male Eclipse Award should he be one of the top finishers in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The colt has made eight starts this year and finished out of the top three in only three outings. This Saturday, he enters the Jockey Club Gold Cup with a solid chance of performing well against older horses.

In his second race in 2013, the Risen Star Stakes, he finished third, beaten by a half-length by Ive Struck a Nerve and Code West. After a distant seventh to Revolutionary in the Louisiana Derby, Palace Malice finished a narrow second to Java’s War in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.

In the 14-horse Blue Grass field, he settled in midpack after Undrafted’s opening quarter of :23.81 on Keeneland's Polytrack surface and gradually closed in on the pace. In the final furlong, Palace Malice seized the lead but battled with Java’s War and Charming Kitten who were making flying late surges. At the finish line, he could not hold off Java’s War, who got his neck in front, although he was able to beat Charming Kitten to the final post by a neck.

Off the Blue Grass Stakes, he went straight to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands with Mike Smith aboard for the first time. For this race, trainer Todd Pletcher made one additional change by adding blinkers to the colt. His new jockey allowed him to get away with fast fractions on the sloppy Churchill Downs track. Palace Malice’s opening quarter went in :22.57 and he ran the first half-mile in a sizzling :45.33. He held his lead by 3 ½ lengths through the first three-quarters of a mile, which he sprinted in 1:09.80, but eventually faded to 12th of 19. 

The connections of Palace Malice opted to bypass the Preakness Stakes to recuperate for the Belmont Stakes. Pletcher removed the blinkers and Mike Smith did not repeat his Derby ride aboard Palace Malice in the 1 ½-mile classic. The Curlin colt settled into fifth behind Frac Daddy’s opening quarter-mile in :23.11 and gradually advanced as the race progressed. Palace Malice charged down the stretch to win by a forceful 3 ¼ lengths in 2:30.70. 

The colorbearer of Cot Campbell's Dogwood Stable made his next start in Saratoga’s Jim Dandy Stakes as the favorite. In the 1 1/8-mile contest, he settled in the second position, stalking Moreno’s pace. Palace Malice moved into the lead in the final furlong and won by one length with a solid effort. He finished the event in a time of 1:47.37.

Palace Malice Jim Dandy WCInside

Palace Malice with Mike Smith aboard after winning the Jim Dandy Stakes

Palace Malice followed the common path of recent Jim Dandy winners when he entered the Travers Stakes as part of a formidable field of nine horses that also included Orb and the intimidating Haskell Invitational winner Verrazano

With Smith back aboard, he stumbled out of the eight post and lost ground. Traveling three paths wide through the early fractions, he seemed doomed by his last-place position - far off the easy pace with splits of :24.40 for the opening quarter and 48.88 for the half mile. However, Palace Malice gradually moved up and quickened impressively when asked around the final turn. Into the stretch, he lost some momentum when Smith had to guide him another two paths wide for a clear bid for the lead. Palace Malice gradually chipped away at the advantage Will Take Charge, Moreno, and Orb had over him but could not improve upon his position. The colt finished fourth, defeated by less than a length in the 1 ¼-mile event.

Palace Malice’s pedigree gives him potential to maintain his popularity beyond the racetrack. From Curlin’s first crop of 3-year-olds, he has a fantastic blend of sprinting and distance influences. Curlin is a son of Smart Strike (by Mr. Prospector) and out of a Deputy Minister (by Vice Regent) mare. Additionally, Curlin's dam’s broodmare sire was a son of the esteemed Sir Ivor. Palace Malice's dam, Palace Rumor, has equally appealing heritage – she is by Royal Anthem (a son of Theatrical) and out of a Red Ransom (by Roberto) mare.

$1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup 

Race 10, 5:49 p.m. ET

3-year-olds and older, 1 1/4 miles (Dirt)

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

1

Ron the Greek

Jose Lezcano

126

Bill Mott

2

Orb

Javier Castellano

122

Shug McGaughey

3

Last Gunfighter

Rajiv Maragh

126

Chad Brown

4

Vitoria Olimpica

Irad Ortiz Jr.

126

Todd Pletcher

5

Alpha

Joe Bravo

126

Kiaran McLaughlin

6

Flat Out

Junior Alvarado

126

Bill Mott

7

Palace Malice

Mike Smith

122

Todd Pletcher

8

Cross Traffic

John Velazquez

126

Todd Pletcher

Image Description

Bunny Hinzman

Bunny Hinzman is a journalist for International Racehorse Magazine.  
Her work has appeared in Illinois Racing News Magazine and Keeneland Magazine.  She also authors Bits N' Bunny, covering various aspects of Thoroughbred horse racing.  Bunny's article, "The Lasix Legacy", received a final nomination and Honorable Mention from Team Valor International's 2012 Stanley Bergstein Award.

Image Description

Bunny Hinzman

Bunny Hinzman is a journalist for International Racehorse Magazine.  
Her work has appeared in Illinois Racing News Magazine and Keeneland Magazine.  She also authors Bits N' Bunny, covering various aspects of Thoroughbred horse racing.  Bunny's article, "The Lasix Legacy", received a final nomination and Honorable Mention from Team Valor International's 2012 Stanley Bergstein Award.

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