The weather forecast suggests rainfall for today’s running of the 139th Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Ky.
However, an off track shouldn’t be too much of a detriment to Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice, said W. Cothran Campbell, Dogwood Stable president, in a phone interview Friday morning.
Palace Malice placed second in his 2013 debut, a 7-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream Park, over a racetrack listed as sloppy, finishing second to the sprinter Majestic Hussar, over what is considered to be a speed favoring racetrack. The bay colt’s sire, two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, scored a pair of his biggest victories over an off track, with wins in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“He’s run in the slop before,” said Campbell. “He was bred to like running on an off track, and his previous performances indicate that he does. He trained at 5:45 this (Friday) morning, and they closed the track at 8 a.m.”
The possibility of inclement weather, a favorable post position, and the colt’s fitness and temperament, are factoring into what might be a contest with an interesting result for the Aiken-connected horse. Palace Malice drew post position no. 10 for Saturday’s race.
“Mike (Smith, Palace Malice’s jockey) likes the post position,” said Campbell.
“He’s (Palace Malice) been training well, and jogged this morning. We’re tickled to death with the post position. There’s a little bit of speed around us, and hopefully that will set it up for us, so we’ll be able to move into a stalking position.”
Palace Malice made two starts during his juvenile campaign, a second in his racing debut, and a 3½-length win at Saratoga at next asking. His sophomore campaign includes his second place finish at Gulfstream, a third place effort in the Risen Star Stakes, and than what Campbell described as a ghastly trip in the Lousiana Derby, where the horse finished seventh, beaten by 7½ lengths, and a runner-up finish in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 13, the race that punched his ticket to Louisville.
AP photo Exercise rider Jake Nelson rides Kentucky Derby hopeful Palace Malice for a workout at Churchill Downs on Wednesday.×
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