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Palace wins G2 True North with perfect trip

By Sean Morris | 06/06/2014 07:37 PM ET
PHOTO/Adam Coglianese

Palace took advantage of a perfect setup to capture the Grade 2, $250,000 True North on Friday at Belmont Park.

Trained by Linda Rice for Antonino Miuccio, Palace tracked the early pace set by stablemate Marriedtothemusic, who led the field through blistering fractions of 22.13 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 44.44 for a half. The son of City Zip enjoyed a rail-skimming ride under jockey Jose Ortiz, who tipped his mount to the three path turning for home and cruised up to and past runner-up Bakken, who had inherited the lead after the pacesetter faded.

Palace - who had not raced since February 17 - prevailed by three-quarters of a length in the end, completing the six-furlong distance in a sparkling 1:08.29.

"He was a little off form in the winter after the Gravesend, and frankly, he just didn't care for the [Aqueduct] inner track so I took him to Maryland for the [Grade 3] General George," said Rice. "He bled through the Lasix and ran really a subpar effort for him, so I turned him out for 60 days, and he came back great."

Despite Palace coming back from the layoff in good form, Rice did not think he was ready to deliver his best effort.

"He was barely fit enough to run," she said, "but he trained very well coming into the race. The race looked like it had a lot of speed, and it set up well for him, and he really likes Belmont."

With his win in the True North, Palace enhanced his bankroll to $719,550, and returned $20.60 on a $2 win bet.

The lightly raced Bakken checked in second in his 4-year-old debut after pressing the torrid pace set by Marriedtothemusic, also trained by Rice. Bakken was undefeated through his first two starts before finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Malibu at Santa Anita Park, his first graded stakes appearance.

"I had a beautiful trip; I was just second-best today," said Javier Castellano, jockey aboard Bakken. "We hooked up with the winner at the top of the stretch, and he just showed a little more today."

It was another length back to Salutos Amigos in third, who was closing late for trainer David Jacobson.

Eastwood, Dads Caps, Marriedtothemusic and Integrity completed the order of finish. Royal Currier and Well Spelled scratched.