Palace Malice became the first North
American winner sired by multiple Horse of the Year Curlin with a dominant 3-½
length maiden score Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. The Dogwood Stable
color-bearer will now be pointed for the Grade 2, $300,000 Three Chimneys
Hopeful on Monday, September 3.
Sent out by Saratoga
leading trainer Todd Pletcher, Palace Malice was making his second career
start. In his debut on July 5 at Belmont Park going five furlongs, the bay colt
had a rough trip and raced greenly through the stretch, placing second to the
promising Carried Interest by a half length, with 6 ¾ lengths separating him
and the third-place finisher.
In Saturday’s seventh race, an $80,000 maiden event at 6 ½ furlongs
on the dirt, Palace Malice broke alertly, tracked a swift pace while running
three wide down the backstretch, took over on the turn, and cruised home to an
easy victory under jockey Javier Castellano, while still running somewhat
greenly through the stretch. He paid $2.70 to win for a $2 wager as the
overwhelming 1-5 favorite in the field of seven.
“We expected him to run well like he did first time out and maybe
improve, but you never take anything for granted in this business,” said
Pletcher, who leads the Saratoga
meet with 14 victories through Saturday. “He’s still learning, and
we were happy to see him win like this. It’s exciting to see a colt that
is bred the way he is to show the kind of speed that he has, and you would
think he would only improve as the distances stretch out.”
On pedigree alone, Palace Malice should have no trouble handling a
route of ground. His sire, Curlin, won seven Grade 1 distance races en route to
being named Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008. Among those victories were the
Preakness, the Woodward, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the Dubai World Cup,
and the Jockey Club Gold Cup, winning the latter event twice.
“He is the only Curlin that we have, and we are very fond of this
colt,” said Pletcher.
Palace Malice also gets stamina from his female family. His dam, Palace
Rumor, was a stakes winner going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Palace Malice is her
third foal; her first two have not had any notable success yet. She also has an
unnamed yearling filly by City Zip.
Dogwood Stable President Cot Campbell was very pleased with his
promising juvenile’s effort.
“It was a wonderful performance,” said Campbell. “We were hoping for one, and
we got one today.”
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese