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Palace Stays Hot in Fall Highweight

Aqueduct Gate 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Palace, claimed for $20,000 in the fall of 2012, won his third straight stakes on Thursday at Aqueduct Racetrack, posting a 1 ½-length victory in the 100th edition of the Grade 3, $300,000 Fall Highweight Handicap for 3-year-olds and up.


Reserved in sixth along the backstretch in the six-furlong race, Palace began his rally when angled outside by Cornelio Velasquez on the turn; he entered the stretch in the five path and overtook Grade 1 winners Strapping Groom and The Lumber Guy in the final furlong.


Palace completed the distance in 1:09.82 under 129 pounds over a main track labeled "good." Backed as the 5-2 second choice, he returned $7.40 for a $2 win wager.


"Perfect trip," said Velasquez. "My horse broke good, good position. He's better outside. [Jockey Joel] Rosario [aboard Sage Valley] gave me a chance at the quarter pole."


Trainer Linda Rice claimed Palace on behalf of owner Antonino Miuccio for $20,000 out of the colt's fourth start, a maiden race at Belmont in October 2012. Palace won four of his first seven starts for his connections, all in optional claiming races.


In his stakes debut, Palace defeated The Lumber Guy by three lengths in the Chowder's First overnight stakes in August at Saratoga. The 4-year-old entered the Fall Highweight off a 1 ¼-length score in the Hudson Handicap on October 19 at Belmont Park. Both the Chowder's First and Hudson were restricted to New York-breds.


"I really think he likes sitting off the pace as a come-from-behind sprinter," said Rice. "He seems to relish that, and, now that we have figured that out, he's doing great."


Palace is a son of City Zip, whom Rice trained to six graded stakes victories.


"I was really excited about today's race, because it is quite gratifying," said Rice. "The fact he's a son of City Zip - I trained [Palace's] father, who was such a tremendous racehorse - makes it really cool."


Palace is 8-2-2 in 14 starts. His Fall Highweight victory, worth $180,000, lifted his earnings to $532,050.


Caixa Eletronica, the 2012 Fall Highweight winner, lagged early before running on to finish fourth. Sage Valley, Saturday's Charm, B Shanny, and early leader Jake N Elwood completed the order of finish.




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