By Dan Silver | 08/04/2012 04:14 PM ET
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.”