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Palace Malice Rocks NOLA


Vicar’s In Trouble rebounded in smashing fashion in the Derby; Untappable was dominant in the Oaks, but from my perspective, the star of stars Saturday at Fair Grounds was Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice. An unlucky loser twice in the Big Easy in 2013, the son of Curlin came back to New Orleans as a bigger, stronger version of the sophomore colt who was defeated in both the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby last year. The result was an impressive score in today's Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap


Inexplicably sent off as the 6-5 second choice behind the 11-10 Normandy Invasion, the Belmont Stakes winner gained a comfortable stalking position from his outside post position behind the early speed of Bradester. When his Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith asked for a little bit of speed on the far turn, his charge responded powerfully, quickly moving up to the leader. Bradester had no answer for the challenge, leaving only the rallying Normandy Invasion as the threat. 


The favorite asked Palace Malice what he had in the early portion of the stretch, but surely did not like the answer, as the Todd Pletcher trained four-year-old turned away the challenge, and coasted home to a sharp 4 ¾-length winner. Normandy Invasion was much the best of the rest and had an even bigger margin for second over local star Sunbean.


“This horse holds a special place in my heart,” said the happy winning rider.  “I’m just so happy that I got to reunite with him and he didn’t let us down.  He might be better than he was last year.  He did that pretty handily today.”


On a personal note, this was the sixth time I’ve had the chance to see Palace Malice in person (three wins), and I can say without question that I’ve never seen him look better. The 114 Beyer he earned in today’s smart score would seem to back up my opinion. From the paddock, to the post parade, to every bit of the nine furlongs, he was a striking image that looked the part of an excellent horse still on the improve.


After winning last year’s Belmont Stakes, Palace Malice was able to win the Jim Dandy over the 3yo champ, Will Take Charge, before being hampered by slow starts in both the Travers and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He is now 2-for-2 this year, having began the year with a very game score in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap. If that performance in South Florida demonstrated his toughness, than this one reaffirmed his talent as one of America’s best horses. 


The victory raised Palace Malice’s career mark to five wins in 14 lifetime starts, and pushed his career earnings ever nearer the $2 million mark. By way of comparison, the final time of 1:48.93 compares very favorably to both the Derby and Oaks wins on the same card by Untappable and Vicar’s In Trouble


A late foal, it would seem that Palace Malice is putting it together and may well be leaving the need for excuses for his losses behind him. 2014 features an excellent group of older males, but after seeing him today, I would not rate any higher than the new improved version of Palace Malice. 


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Older Comments about Palace Malice Rocks NOLA...

Sometimes i am puzzled by the fans.They love it when their favorites Globe Trot and fly or van all over the country to race every race. Although the doses and medication are strictly legal,and absolutely necessary. Every time a horse ships from one local to another. They are sedated so that they do not injure themselves by overreacting to a situation. Not an expert in the medicine field,but logic tells me the more and more they get sedated,it can't be all that good.
With the recent stud deal you may not be far off, though it ought to be noted that Lukas did bypass the New Orleans Handicap to have him somewhat fresh for the Oaklawn Handicap. I would expect for them to go to the Alysheba after, then Stephen Foster, Whitney, Woodward, JCGC and end in the BCC, assuming he is sound.
You are scaring me mschneider!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (LOL)Better start attacking me,someone might get the notion we are the same person and acting on the alias card.
tmallios1, excellent insight and comments on MMM and WTC. Particularly the wear and tear on WTC which is occuring whether anyone wants to acknowledge it or not. From my perspective, it appears the goal is to get as many races in as possible for WTC before he decides he does not want to run anymore.
mschneider one thing my friend tells me about Todd,and it is of the highest compliments. Nobody but nobody is more competetive and wants to win. People mistake him in that he over races his horses. Todd points his horses ,he knows exactly when to twist the screws and when not to. It is not if you so called run against the Bears,but the timing of when you run against them.Look at Mott and Lea,he took on WTC with a horse that was in training and on his game.As good as WTC ran that day,Mott knew that there was no way he would be cranked for his best. He wants the Whitney because that is where P.M. will be training all summer after they leave Belmont. Also i do not think Todd fears MMM , he respects the horse . The only horse he really worries about in that race is WTC. But the way Lukas is running him all over the country,shipping back and forth from coast to coast. He is hoping that WTC just may have a bit of wear and tear on him come Whitney day.
tmallios, we agree again = all that matters is the horse. The health and safety of the horse should always be the #1 priority. I hope your insight on Pletcher's goals are accurate and PM is ready to go. As you know, those 3 races will be loaded with talent and there is nothing better than seeing great horses compete against other great horses.
Woody Stephens was quoted often in his saying: "Every good horse has three good races in him and then needs a break. If they don't get it, you will have no horse down the road."
In my opinion Palace Malice is a Classic distance horse who is best at 1 1/8 mile to 1 1/2 miles. Although he could win the Met mile on class alone, I think he would be better suited to longer races. If still healthy in November he will be tough in the Breeders Cup Classic.
Not really mschneider, if Buds and i found mutual ground. Then i guess anything is possible. Just that aside from the health of the horse,which is the #1 thing. Most trainers usually have 2 target races throughout the year with an Elite type horse. 3 at the most,you try to get them to that race with the least amount of stress as possible. Those are the races that they have designated for their charge to be at the Optimum effectiveness. No matter how badly you want it,you can never have your horse ready for every race. I do have a bit of insight in this,the accuracy is not 100 % because plans change. Todd had 3 goals with P.M. > The Met-The Whitney and the BC Classic. If the Classic is your goal,then you cannot have them at full tilt for the prep,by that i mean the JCGC or the Awesome Again. Last year the horses that ran big in the JCGC came up empty in the Cup. MMM on the other hand faced a sub par field in his race,although he ran fast,he was not exerted to the max ,due to the lesser competition.
tmallios1, a rare moment = we are of like mind. "Smart Race Management" is a valid and fair description imo. Pletcher is exceptional and he will get PM to as close to his potential as possible when it is all said and done. Not sure if this rare event should frighten both of us or not.
I think he looks much better than last year, BIGGER-FASTER-STRONGER. jlp
Shack i for one am not saying that he is ducking the big boys to date. You see bravado and chirping is great for the fans on multi media blogs. Todd deals from reality, he knows that this horse is far from ready to take on that task. So he will bide his time and go after them in his backyard at Saratoga. That is not being afraid or ducking the competition. That is smart Race Management.
Palace has already beaten the great WTC twice. He's not dodging anyone.
You gotta love those Palacemites Mary. Except for N.I. who at his best is a nice horse.If the jocks on the rest of the horses carried there horses around the track,they could of posed a stronger threat to Palace Malice. Guys disregard the inflated BEyer figure. Just accept the win,if this were a tennis match.All he did was hold serve,nothing else.
Smith...ALone on the lead and the only earlish animal in the contest after two scratched and a course that was speed biased as well. ANimal won the race and he was a passenger
Geezus, toni, how was Palace Malice going to lose yesterday? "Moving mountains"? Seriously?
mike smith mouving mountains... "best of the best"
Surprised there were no comments of the fact he almost didn't get out of the gate as he was up in the air moments before it opened.
Sorry; that should be, "I don't know" above.
I'm don't know; however it was first said after the Gulfstream race by Campbell. It is then shown on BH, the Dogwood site, etc., as being said as the result of a collaboration between Pletcher and Campbell. I don't think anything is 'written in stone' for this horse---in either man's mind.

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