A nightmare of a trip left Dogwood Stable's Palace Malice with absolutely no racing room as the son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin found himself finishing seventh Saturday in the 100th running of the 1 1/8-mile Grade 2, $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, La.
Palace Malice failed to add to his point total to qualify for the Kentucky Derby Field, and the Todd Pletcher charge will be pointed toward the Grade 1, 1 1/8-mile $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 13, although the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on the same date has not yet been ruled out, said W. Cothran Campbell, Dogwood Stable president.
The bay colt broke alertly from the two hole, and seemed content to lay off the early pace, saving ground early under Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado. However, the 3-year-old horse moved into contention as he got closer to the rail approaching the far turn.
Palace Malice found his rival Code West to his outside leaving him with no racing room, boxed in behind a wall of horses and would eventually be shuffled back. A move to the outside late proved futile as he failed to gain on the leaders, and was passed by other horses.
“If I had a clean trip, I felt like I could have won the race,” said Prado. “I didn't have to ask for him to move up. The horse took me to third.”
The graded stakes placed colt was trained in Aiken by Legacy Stable's Brad Stauffer.
Palice Malice placed third in his last start, beaten only a half-length in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds on Feb. 23.
The Louisiana Derby was the third start of his sophomore campaign, second around two turns, and second with Prado up. Palace Malice has 10 points, and is currently tied for 32nd in the Kentucky Derby point standings. The top 20 point earners qualify to be part of the field for the 139th Kentucky Derby on May 4.