Palace rewards Rice's confidence with G1 Forego win
By Jon Forbes | 08/30/2014 07:39 PM ET
Palace erased any doubt about his ability to excel at seven furlongs by rallying along the rail to win the Grade 1, $500,000 Forego for 3-year-olds and up on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
Looking to double his Grade 1 tally after taking the six-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap earlier in the meet, Palace raced in third early, intently tracking a pace of 22.48 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 45.23 for the half set by long shot Zee Bros.
Zee Bros drifted out at the top of the stretch, and Palace surged through the opening and quickly took command, driving clear under Cornelio Velasquez to prevail by 3 ½ lengths. Big Business completed the all New York-bred exacta by running on from fifth to finish second, a neck ahead of third-place finisher Vyjack.
Palace completed the distance in 1:21.95 and returned $10.60 for a $2 win wager as the 9-2 second choice.
"I wanted to break good and stay in good position behind the speed," said Velasquez. "I had a lot of horse. When the opening came, I was in good position. I think my horse is the best sprinting horse now."
Capo Bastone, Sensational Slam, Weekend Hideaway, Zee Bros, favored Clearly Now, and Confrontation completed the order of finish.
In the days leading up to the Forego, Rice was uncertain whether she'd run Palace or wait for the Grade 1, six-furlong Vosburgh Invitational on September 27 at Belmont.
"[Palace] is a really talented horse, and when he is good I need to use him because on several occasions I've needed to stop on him, turn him out, and give him a break," Rice said of the decision to run the 5-year-old son of City Zip in the Forego. "When a horse is doing as well as he is, I don't know how long I can keep him that good."
The Forego was Palace's first start at seven furlongs since finishing fourth in the Grade 3 General George Handicap in February at Laurel Park. Following the General George, he won the Grade 2, six-furlong True North by three-quarters of a length in June at Belmont, was second by 6 ¼ lengths to Clearly Now in Belmont's Grade 3, seven-furlong Belmont Sprint Championship in July, and got up by one length in the Vanderbilt on August 2 at the Spa.
Rice said Palace will target the $400,000 Vosburgh at Belmont. During the 2012 Belmont fall meet, Rice and owner Antonino Miuccio claimed Palace for $20,000 out of an 11 ¾-length maiden victory.
"He's such a special horse, and Mr. Miuccio has allowed me to stop on him, turn him out, and give him a break whenever he needs it, and it's obviously paid off," said Rice.
Overall, Palace is 11-5-2 in 21 starts. He has earned $1,309,550, including $300,000 for his Forego triumph.