Palace Malice, owned by Aiken-based Dogwood Stable, will continue his quest to run in the Kentucky Derby by competing in the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes. The 1 1/16-mile race is scheduled for Feb. 23 at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in Louisiana and Dogwood’s president, Cot Campbell, will be looking for a big effort from the 3-year-old colt.
“He needs to win or be right there with an excuse,” Campbell said.
A son of 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year Curlin, Palace Malice has won once and finished second twice in his three career races. He will make his first start in a stakes race in the Risen Star and will be running more than a mile for the first time.
“He is a big colt that has always signaled he was going to love going a distance,” Campbell said.
Palace Malice will tackle the Grade II Risen Star rather than the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes on the same day at Gulfstream Park in Florida for several reasons, according to Campbell.
Palace Malice, who’s based in the Sunshine State, travels well, the Dogwood president said. Shipping to Louisiana will allow him to avoid running against his undefeated stablemate, Grade I winner Violence, in the Fountain of Youth. Todd Pletcher trains both colts.
“The Risen Star will be a hair easier,” Campbell said.
The availability of Rosie Napravnik to ride Palace Malice in the Risen Star also was a factor.
“She (Napravnik) is “the best rider in New Orleans (where the Fair Grounds is located) and she knows the racetrack,” Campbell said.
Javier Castellano, who has been aboard Palace Malice in the colt’s first three career outings, also is the regular rider for Violence and will be aboard that colt in the Fountain of Youth.
“Of course, he (Castellano) wasn’t going to get off a Grade I stakes winner (to ride Palace Malice),” Campbell said.
In his most recent outing, Palace Malice finished second in an allowance/optional claiming race at Gulfstream Jan. 19.