Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice will try to do something that no horse from Aiken has done in 20 years – win the Kentucky Derby. The 3-year-old colt will attempt to end the two-decade-long drought by winning the first jewel of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown this Saturday in the 139th running of the 1¼-mile, $2 million, Grade 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Palace Malice was trained by Legacy Stable’s Brad Stauffer over the Aiken Training Track.
The last Aiken-connected horse to win the Run for the Roses was Sea Hero from Paul Mellon’s Rokeby Stable in 1993.
The bay colt was broken and trained by Hall of Fame conditioner, the Gentleman Trainer from Morgan Street, MacKenzie Miller, and was ridden to victory by Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey.
The first Kentucky Derby winner to have been trained in Aiken, Shut Out won the 68th running of the race. A chestnut colt campaigned by Greentree Stable,and conditioned by John Gaver, Shut Out would go onto win the prestigious race by 2¼ lengths.
There is some question as to whether or not the 1965 Kentucky Derby winner ever stepped foot on the Aiken Training Track, as only a picture and caption underneath a photo that ran in the Aiken Standard and Review suggested that Mrs. Ada Rice’s Lucky Debonair trained in Aiken. This hasn’t been substantiated by other sources.
However, Thomas Mellon Evans’ Buckland Farm’s Pleasant Colony won the 107th edition of the Kentucky Derby, and the dark bay colt trained by Johnny Campo and ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Jorge Velasquez, went on to win the Preakness Stakes and finish third in the Belmont Stakes.
The wait between the next Kentucky Derby and dual Classic winner was only three years. Claiborne Farm’s Swale won the 1984 Kentucky Derby with Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr. in the irons. The dark bay son of the 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew was trained by Hall of Fame trainer Woody Stephens, and would go onto capture the third jewel of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes.