Photo: NYRA / Coglianese Photos
In what turned out to be a $90,000 one-mile breeze, Palace Malice made short work of the
Westchester at Belmont Park. Sent off as the 1-9 favorite in a field of four,
the Dogwood Stable four year-old
ended up winning by 9¾ lengths in a time of 1:35.53.
Palace Malice was making his third start of 2014 and was
expected to win easily. Trainer Todd Pletcher commented on that, "Anytime
you're in a race that you fully expect to win you're always a little extra
anxious and you're just hoping everything goes according to plan, everything
goes smoothly. Luckily, for everyone involved today, it did."
Palace Malice has
now won the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2), the New Orleans Handicap (G2), and
the Westchester (G3) in total, by over 14 lengths. His record certainly puts
him at the top of the older male handicap division. "He's 3-for-3, so far,
this year, said Pletcher. He doesn't
seem to have any distance limitations, short or long, to win twice at a mile,
once at a mile and an eighth, Belmont [Stakes] on the résumé. We're really
excited about where he is, how he is doing, and hopefully [there is] more to
In the early going, Palace Malice sat a few lengths behind the pace setters I’m Steppin’ It Up and
Red Rifle as they went :23.61 and :46.69. After five furlongs Palace Malice
started his move on the outside and easily passed the leaders. After three
quarters in 1:11.32 jockey John Velazquez had him in the lead by one length.
Velazquez said, "As soon as he got out on the turn he got into a nice
rhythm and I just let him do it. On the line I just kept him busy.
Palace Malice paid
$2.10 and $2.10 to his supporters, which included over $594,000 of the $629,000
in the place pool.
Pletcher had a
great day at Belmont as he also won the second and fourth races with Stonestreet Farms runners. The
Westchester was carded as the third race. The winners paid $12.00, $2.10, and
$4.60. The Todd, Todd, Todd pick 3 paid $26.40 for $2.
The Westchester was
planned as Palace Malice’s prep race for the Met Mile, which is now part of the
June 7 Belmont Stakes undercard.
to Mr. Campbell, but we came into today with the idea that if this went well
we'd look at the Met Mile. He certainly ran well enough today to keep that as a
top priority," said Pletcher. The grade one race will be run for a purse of $1,250,000.