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Better Luck for Cot Campbell and Palace Malice this time around


Dogwood Stable announced this past weekend that their star runner, Palace Malice will be New Orleans bound to run in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap on March 29. Something about this news just brings a smile to my soul.


Remember what happened to the handsome son of Curlin the last time he made the trip to the Big Easy? I do. The result was not big, and his trip was anything but easy. The young colt was rode hard and put away wet by the racing gods in the Louisiana Derby that day. With little room to run in all the key moments of the race, it is seldom that you can say the seventh place finisher very well could have been best, but so it was for Palace Malice and his trip from hell. I was disappointed for his octogenarian owner, Cot Campbell.


Campbell, the man behind the familiar green and yellow silks of Dogwood Stable, is a man I’ve rooted for over several decades of enjoying the races. He’s as colorful as he is genuine, and his partnership blueprint helped bring the common man to our sport. Cot was born and bred in New Orleans, but has yet to win the biggest races his birthplace city has to offer. He was robbed of his chance in last year’s Louisiana Derby due to racing luck. It would seem only fitting for horse and owner to have better luck this time around. The man in charge of that luck will be a familiar face.


Of note will be a rider change for Palace Malice back to Mike Smith. John Velazquez piloted him to victory in his seasonal debut, a game as could be score in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, but is otherwise occupied on the 29th with the Florida Derby, so it’s back to Smitty. It will be a reunion for a pair that together, accounted for big wins in the Belmont Stakes and Jim Dandy last year.


Among the list of possible suspects to take him on in Fair Grounds’ most important race for older horses, includes several horses that took advantage of his unfortunate trip in last year’s Louisiana Derby, including the winner himself, Revolutionary. In this case, revenge could be a dish best served with a fair amount of cajun spice.


As for what comes after the New Orleans Handicap, Dogwood went on to say that a tentative plan for Palace Malice could include a start in the Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 3. They did not elaborate any further than that, but I have to believe that the rich Met Mile, now on Belmont Stakes Day, would be a logical next step. Selfishly, all of this means that I would be able to see one of my current favorite horses in person in each of his next three starts. I may be getting ahead of myself just a bit, but Palace Malice and Cot Campbell are a pair I can really get behind.


I believe Palace Malice to be one of the best horses in America, and I know that Cot Campbell is one our great racing ambassadors. Nothing would make me happier than seeing them meet up in the Fair Grounds’ winner’s circle on Louisiana Derby Day. It may be a year late, but I have no doubt that they deserve a big win together in the Big Easy.



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Older Comments about Better Luck for Cot Campbell and Palace Malice this time around...

Palice was aided by a tremendous early bias a day after the track was inudated by rain
You just have to believeeeeeeeeeeee!
I think Palace Malice's best races would be at the classic distance, he won the Belmont and ran well in the Travers. The problem is that there are no Grade One classic distance races for older horses in the east until the Jockey Club Gold Cup in October. Why not bring him out to California for the Gold Cup at Santa Anita at the end of June?
Sullivan,are you saying that Mylute will be running in the N.O. Handicap. Last i heard was that he would more than likely debut in the Alysheba on Oaks day.
I have a hard time believing things will get any better this time. Mylute and Revolutionary look tough. I don't see him going to Athena over Westchester...
Tom, I don't understand the argument here. I expressed my feelings very briefly above, and you have heard this from me before about the jockey switches for this horse; it's nothing new. Again, a smile. :) I have to be out for the remainder of the afternoon.
Doubt horses know the difference when they are lucky enough to have an elite jock on their back. Look at GOD, he has had multiple riders never missed a beat. Dan has had different riders never missed a beat. I'm sorry but i have to laugh "I supposeSmith is Ok" My friend is a major Palacemite. He blames him for the Travers. Yet in his mind he was only a passenger in the Belmont and the Dandy. Smith is the #1 money Rider in America. If he is only a passing thought.
Johnny V will be on Wildcat Red in the Florida Derby, zXSwordXz.
Tom, We discussed this on a previous thread the other day, where you said JV would remain committed unless needed elsewhere for another major race. That's what is happening (even per the Dogwood site), I suppose. Smith is okay, just don't like the "change" so soon after his return. It is what it is.....And every horse should be so fortunate as to be graced by the riding presence of Gary Stevens. ;)
Goblin,how could this be musical jockey game. He is getting back the rider who piloted him to wins in the Belmont Stakes and The Jim Dandy. So Mike has won with him before,Johnny V. has also won with him. This horses successes or failures so far have not been determined by the jock. The last 2 to ride him are Hall Of Famers. When the stiffs get the leg up,then it might be a negative. Would you be opposed for example if Smith or Johnny V. were not available that maybe ary Stevens picked up the mount. He will always have this problem going forward. The only horse one probably would not jump off of now is WTC . Every other horse is fair game to a better mount.
Which horse will Johnny be riding in the Florida Derby?
Thank you for the update on PM's schedule, Brian; really wish he wouldn't be subjected to the musical jockeys game though.
This is an ambitious old school spring racing schedule for Palace Malice, but Cot is the guy to show was how it used to be done.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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