Palace Malice completely changed his running style from the Derby, when he ran wildly on the lead while wearing blinkers for the first time. With the blinkers off, Palace Malice was able to relax behind the pace setters, take command midway through the final turn, and ultimately draw off to a 3¼ length victory in today's Belmont Stakes. Todd Pletcher’s strategy
was to rest his three year-olds after the Kentucky Derby, by skipping the
Preakness, and to take aim on the Belmont Stakes. He went after the Triple
Crown’s final race with a record five horses.
It was Dogwood Stable’s
Palace Malice that would give Pletcher and jockey Mike Smith their second
Belmont Stakes victories. Pletcher won his first Belmont in 2007 with the filly
Rags to Riches and Mike Smith got his first with Drosselmeyer in 2010.
Pletcher described the
the early part it went the way we anticipated it would in terms of where we
were positioned. He was able to get him in a nice comfortable rhythm and travel
along, pretty quickly, considering the distance, but he looked like he was in a
good comfortable rhythm and that was the main focus.”
The race began with
Freedom Child and Frac Daddy setting very fast early fractions of :23.11,
:46.66, and 1:10.95. Oxbow would move and join the early leadings. Freedom
Child and Frac Daddy could not survive the blistering pace and would end up
finishing 13th and 14th, while Oxbow fought on gamely to
The win by Palace Malice
gave his sire Curlin, a classic victory from his first crop of runners.
Even though the Belmont
Stakes victory was only the second career win for Palace Malice, Pletcher
remained confident in the ability of his colt. “I felt like he had a big one in him,”
he said. “I kept waiting for it to materialize in the afternoon.”