Genuine and generous.
Those were the words used by Dogwood Stable president W. Cothran Campbell to describe Palace Malice. The 3-year-old colt will be running tomorrow in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
And although his stay in Aiken was brief, no more than six weeks, Palace Malice seems to possess all of the traits characteristic of a horse with a promising future, said Brad Stauffer, Legacy Stable trainer.
Palace Malice was rather fit when he came to Aiken, after being purchased at the Keeneland 2012 April 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. The colt was willing, professional, and precocious but was a bit anxious said Stauffer, who trained the multiple stakes placed horse over the Aiken Training Track.
“He was a May foal and a litte bit mentally immature,” said Stauffer. “He learned really well. He acted professional at the gate. We began putting in long, slow gallops and got him to relax. We just basically put on some finishing touches. He got his high school diploma, and we sent him off to college.”
Time and experience played a role in Palace Malice’s development, and the colt seems to be peaking at the right time. However, Campbell is pragmatic about his Derby entry’s chances in Saturday’s race.
“He does have a lot of plus factors at this time,” said Campbell, in a phone interview Thursday morning. “He’s getting good at the right time, but I have to be realistic. There are 19 others that are getting good at the right time. He’s a genuine and generous horse. He comes running and gives you what he has.”
The bay colt will be running against the best of his generation this Saturday, and having a favorable trip and staying out of trouble will be key variables, if Palace Malice is to run a big race.
“Any time you’re running against a field of that quality, it’s a horse’s talent that gets them there,” said Stauffer. “Mr. Campbell has a great eye, and he demonstrated that when he picked that horse. Palace Malice got a lot of help from our riders and crew, and Todd (Pletcher, Palace Malice’s trainer at the racetrack) put on the finishing touches.”